The Assassinations - Future Blasts From The Past
Maybe it's just me, but when I find a band that harks from Berlin I tend to expect a dark depressive sound or something strange and mysterious. So on discovering The Assassinations, I was a little taken aback, for their sound is very much more upbeat and their demeanour far less serious than your average German band. They are the product of guitarist/producer Tico Zamora in fact, who decided to assemble a group of pals to put out this set of tunes. The man has roots in punk and metal with loose connections to Bad Brains and Mo Tucker and was then part of the electroclash scene almost a decade ago, but this set illustrates more versatility than might be anticipated.
Every track sounds like something you feel you've heard before but can't quite remember where and you find yourself making direct comparisons throughout. If you were to take Electric Six and shove them in a blender with Black Lips, add a splash of Eagles Of Death Metal and garnish with Rocket from The Crypt and... well, you start to get the picture. There are quality moments though, as on Hallucination Girl, which is well delivered garage punk and would sit proudly in the Stooges catalogue. Dead Meat In A State Of Shock kicks off with the guitar riff from Lenny Kravitz's Are You Gonna Go My Way, which was in itself a Hendrix rip-off of course and then Out Of The Past could easily be lifted from The Velvet Underground's Loaded, with its monodrone vocals. When things are slowed down, there's an earthy blues vibe and perhaps the best moments here, Cities Of The Red Night being a prime example, with a shimmering organ line punctuated by distressed guitar strokes and a air of mystery that suggest an unholy matrimony between Nick Cave and Alice Cooper. Final track The Last Night of The World is in a similar vein and shows greater depth in sound, with a barren guitar/organ backdrop building to a fitting conclusion. The one connection that possibly could be linked to Berlin is within the lyrical content, with stories of depravity and violence, although that could be an unfair slant on a City that has long shed its Third Reich links!
Originality is close to zero it has to be said but, in an age when few things are such, it is refreshing to find an album that delivers it without any real pretence. The set clocks in with nine tracks at a little over 38 minutes, which is less than generous but it does have enough variety to provide a highly enjoyable listening experience, if only for a drunken night with the lads!