Album review: The Drama Kings – Batcave

Source: album artwork

Words by Lady Godiva

“Release the bats! Release the bats!

Pump them up and explode the things.”

Nearly four decades after The Birthday Party‘s “Release The Bats’”, the mystical creatures of darkness are still an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Fun fact, Batcave was recorded at Swamp Land, another reference to the iconic Australian band. A serendipitous coincidence.

No one could tell The Drama Kings are based in France as their major influences come from across the Atlantic and from various eras of American music. The EP opener, “Hate Train Blues”‘ raw energy is reminiscent of Night Beats‘ “H Bomb”, adorned with a harmonica that has a Dylan twist to it, circa Highway 61 Revisited.

Wrapped in thick layers of hazy magic, “Indian Pales” possesses the most incantatory vibrations on this release, its otherworldly atmosphere throws you right into the abyss with an unpredictable and voluptuous upsurge. The title track’s first notes evoke Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in the early days, especially “Spread Your Love”. There’s life affirming sass to it and it then takes a turn for the strange, making it a quirky and refreshingly original tune.

The Drama Kings

All these bits and pieces are reassembled like a jigsaw and intelligently revisited to form a hybrid and yet trademark sound loaded with dark garagey and droney rock’n’roll. The Drama Kings also pay tribute to the one and only father of fuzz Link Wray, encapsulating his legendary laugh taken from “The Shadow Knows” in the brilliant “Lost Ghosts”, a wittily spooky kind of number and goosebumps inducing ghost train of a track. The finale “Blurry Path” marks the striking evolution from the debut EP with a much enhanced version of a great tune. They have sharpened their sound along with their mind’s eye, something that appeals to the listener’s senses as well as its imagination.

This cavernous cabinet of curiosities is a maze rich in textures and eerie song structures with incandescent escalations of abrasive guitars, an eerie and haunting soundtrack one relishes wandering through. Perfect for Halloween time, night owls and tormented souls.

Batcave was released in September 2020 and is available to purchase here

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