The Shrills // Meltdown
Recommended Track: Morgana
Slip in a Cramps tape, pop a tab of acid and cruise down Pacific Coast Highway with Ruben and the Jets, and you might just stumble into The Shrills. Meltdown is their latest vauedville freak show of demented punk and twangy surf wop (not a real genre) out on Resurrection Records.
The prickly analog composition of Costa Mesa’s Distillery Studio really pops on tracks like “Home Alone” and “Teen Wolf”. Distortion heavy “Redhead” sounds like a pack of wild monkeys trying to drown a kid in an electric pond and “Meltdown” plays like a punk cover of some random unreleased garage acetate.
The Shrills’ lyrics can be just as batshit loco as their erratic stage presence. “Kill My Baby” is no exception. Zack Grimm and Dan Simmons croon, “Try to do it nice and humane/Two in the stomach and one in the brain/What if I start to miss her/Well that’s ok cause she’s got two sisters.” It’s a perfect piece of zany bubblegum rock tailor-made for the Hatchet-Faces of this world. “Broadzilla” is feet-tapping mongoloid surf punk and “Pink Hotel” blasts two minutes of Patrick Tapia’s (Death Hymn #9) drum rolls and cymbal crashes that transition into Segallesque guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. Meltdown‘s most serious track “Morgana” is a potpourri of raspy doo-wop balladry and classic surf slide riffs.
The one misstep here is instrumental album closer “Welcome to Hellvis”, which serves as some sort of ambient warped vinyl outro that inexplicably cuts eight seconds too early. But who knows, maybe The Shrills trashed the studio so much by that time the engineer simply pulled the plug? Meltdown has an amateurish panache that lends itself nicely to their campy influences. It’s got a magnetism that will charm your friends and piss off your neighbors. Fans of King Khan, Guantanamo Baywatch and Shannon and the Clams would be wise to check this one out.