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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Witches in Bikinis

Witches in Bikinis

Review by Gary Hill

Monsters, ghosts and goblins have a connection with rock music that goes way back. Well, we’ve come a long way from “I Put a Spell on You,” “Haunted House” and “The Monster Mash.” Witches in Bikinis seem to try to capture some of the fun and humor of those original rock and roll spook songs and they do a great job. This is a fun Halloween romp that combines vintage girl group sounds (especially on the vocals) with tongue in cheek haunted humor.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hold Me, My Little Ghostie
A cool retro keyboard sound makes one think that they are about to launch into the Munsters theme song. Instead we get something that feels like a gypsy song – particularly in terms of the accent on the vocals. This is bouncy and fun, if a bit weird. The cool swirling section is a nice touch.
Horror Flick Chicks
Here we get the first rock song of the disc. This is a pretty straight forward retro sounding retro sounding pop rock cut that pokes fun of the role that ladies usually play in scary movies. We even get some screams to make the scream queens proud!
Witches in Bikinis
This time it’s something akin to a cross between a folk rock song and a 60’s girl group sound. This is a bit odd, but still quite fun. After the first verse they pound out into a more rocking chorus and then alternate between the two sounds to carry forward.
Spooks on the Loose
The retro keyboard sound that starts this is a very cool. This is a bouncy and fun rocker that talks about a journey into a haunted house where the ghouls and ghosts get a bit fresh. The instrumental segment on this one is a lot of fun. 
Haunted Mansion
Keys start this is an atmospheric manner. The operatic vocals on the first verse here are based on a melody line that makes me think of the verse to King Crimon’s “In the Court of the Crimson King.” It might not be a note for note, but I challenge you to listen to this and not think “The rusted chains of prison moons / Are shattered by the sun / I walk a road, horizons change…” This has that gypsy sort of sound again and feels a bit like some sort of Broadway musical. This is fun, but a bit over the top for my tastes, and it runs a little too long. If there is one track here to skip, this would be it. Still, the closing segment with it’s symphonic instrumentation and maniacal laugh is fun.
Goblin Gaboom
This might well be the best track on show here. It has a vocal line that consists of someone pretending to be a little girl augmented by a monster-like male voice. Musically this is a 1950’s pop track. The result feels like something that might have come from The Muppet Show.
Cemetery Boogie
As one might guess from the title, here we get a bouncing old school rock and roll number. This is another highlight of the disc. The instrumental section with its vintage sound is a very nice touch. So, is the jazzy little jam that follows it.
Monster Woogie
Keyboards playing a classic “spooky” music tune alongside thunderstorm textures lead this off. It moves out into a jazzy, classically oriented jam for the verse, but turns bouncy and fun for the chorus. This is another that feels like it could have come from a stage musical, but it works better than “Haunted Mansion.” The scat segment is a great addition.
Subway Spooks
A pretty piano line serves as the backdrop for the balladic approach (almost prog-like in the vein of Renaissance). We get more of that stage musical motif later in the track.
Zombie March
Here we get another spooky, stage musical approach. This is energetic and fun, if perhaps a bit over the top. It includes some cool changes, though, including a great rock and roll segment.
Cave Fire
This comes in with a very dramatic film score sounding piece of symphonic music. This shifts out to more “world music” sounds as it carries onward. This instrumental is the longest track on the disc (just over seven minutes) and would probably qualify as progressive rock by most standards.
Graveyard Tango
This is another instrumental, but this time think Booker T. and The MG’s, although, there is a faster paced prog-like motif mid-song.
Hidden Track
OK, you didn’t really think that they would stop the album with twelve songs and leave the “lucky number 13” slot open, did you? Shame on you! After an extended period of silence we get a story reading, basically a “Twas the Night Before Christmas” for Halloween.
 
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