CRAMPS, THE – Flame Job

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"...This is rock ’n’ roll at its breathtaking best, alternately terrifying and hilarious, menacing and fun, with all the band’s obsessions – fast cars (‘Sado County Auto Show’), pharmaceutical oblivion (‘Let’s Get Fucked Up’), female genitalia (‘Nest Of The Cuckoo Bird’) – still on their warped minds. Poison Ivy’s exhilarating Link Wray-on-strychnine riffing dominates the maniacal ‘I’m Customized’, a sort of a bastard son of ‘Shakin’ All Over’ which disintegrates into unlistenable guitar noise as Lux screams “Flames!!! Flames!!! BURRRRRRRN, BABY, BURRRRRRRN” as only the Garbageman can. There’s also the obligatory ‘Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs’ as well as an eloquent defence of hedonism on ‘Let’s Get Fucked Up’: “Let’s get fucked up/Let’s get fucked up/Let’s do some stuff/And get fucked up/Tomorrow we’ll feel like we was hit by a truck/But now let’s get fucked up.” A wise philosophy in these complex times.

And, as usual, the Cramps have included a few cover versions of obscure rockabilly songs, in keeping with their policy of introducing diehards to the forgotten heroes of trash culture. On Junior Thompson’s ‘How Come You Do Me?” Lux goes through a range of Elvissy shudders and hiccups while Slim Harpo’s ‘Strange Love’ and Hayden Thompson’s ‘Blues Blues Blues’ have a more laid-back feel. Their rendition of Keith Courvale’s ‘Trapped Love’ is as melodic as anything the Stray Cats ever did, and far more spirited. None of these songs has the astonishing frontal-lobotomy impact of ‘Surfin’ Bird’ but all are worth repeated listens. The LP closes in quiet, sinister fashion with a dramatic cover of the classic ‘Route 66’, taking you down the famous highway through a Deep South wonderland immortalised in song: it’s the album’s most understated cut, and possibly its strongest.

Flamejob is slightly less intense and more polished than their early work, but it’s still five-star Crampabilly, and like Gene Vincent, Screamin’ Jay or the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, its crazed assault will still echo long after today’s flavour-of-the-month has been forgotten.

- Craig Fitzsimons, Hot Press

A1 Mean Machine
A2 Ultra Twist
A3 Let‘s Get F*cked Up
A4 Nest Of The Cuckoo Bird
A5 I‘m Customized
A6 Sado County Auto Show
A7 Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs
B1 How Come You Do Me?
B2 Inside Out And Upside Down (With You)
B3 Trapped Love
B4 Swing The Big Eyed Rabbit
B5 Strange Love
B6 Blues Blues Blues
B7 Sinners
B8 Route 66 (Get Your Kicks On)