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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Creepniks

Graveyard Shindig

Review by Gary Hill

I discovered this band when I was working on my new book. The second track on the CD is inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, so it’s covered in more detail in that tome. Also, their main man Johnny Lockjaw shares some of his insights there. In any event, these guys mix the sounds of The Ventures and Chris Isaaks with a love of pulp horror. The result is a fun blend that should please most and offend few. After all it’s good clean fun.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Zombie Stomp
The Ventures take on The Cramps in this cool instrumental. This one scores points with me for the use of theremin. It’s a tasty way to start off the disc.
Shadow Over Elkhart
This starts with a tentative, twangy guitar sound that has some signs of dissonance. Slowly it is built up into a rockabilly jam with a definite dosage of retro science fiction sounds. The vocals are a screamed sort of rockabilly rant that reminds me a bit of Screaming Jay Hawkins. In fact, there’s a Hawkins vibe on this one in many ways. But interestingly enough I can also hear hints of modern King Crimson. This is a very listenable piece of musical pleasure. It’s creepy, but still quite fun. At close to six minutes it’s also the longest piece of music on the disc. There is more in my book about this track as the lyrics are based on the works of Lovecraft. 
Pale Rider
Percussion starts this one off in a slow meter. More of that echoey twangy guitar enters to keep it from becoming lonely and the track builds ever so slowly on this basis. I have to say that this one at first is almost painfully slow. Still as it begins to take on more melody it works better. The general musical theme as this works towards a more complete arrangement is that of The Ventures meet a theme song from an old Western. This carries the cut for a time. Then it drops back to the original sounds from the introduction before building back up to this more complete treatment. This is a tasty instrumental, although I’m not sure that it fits with the pulp horror induced theme of the rest of the disc. Don’t get me wrong, this instrumental is actually one of my favorites on show, and I’m guessing that the band have their images of the horror type nature of the piece, I’m just not getting that aspect of it.
Surfin’ With Satan
Well, ya just don’t get much of a cooler title than that one, do you? The song fits it quite nicely, too. This one is total surf music ala The Ventures, but a little laugh ala Old Scratch kicks it off. It’s another instrumental and one of my favorites on the CD.
Hellbent Sickobilly
The spirit of Mr. Hawkins seems to have returned here. This is another tasty jam that has that Hawkins vibe all over it.
Zombie Kind of Love
This is another track in a similar mode to the rest of the CD. It’s easy to say that there is a bit too much similarity to a lot of this music, but frankly as fun as this is, who cares? Besides the lyrics and vocal delivery (even feeling a bit like the B-52’s at times) is great. In fact, this one might be my favorite track on show here.
El Gringo Loco
Percussion leads this one off. That demonic laughing is back on the intro to this along with a staccato guitar chording. This instrumental (well OK that laughter runs throughout much of it along with screams, car squeals and other sounds) shows of elements of modern King Crimson in the midst of its weird arrangement. One of the most unusual pieces of music to be found here, this is cool nonetheless.
Freaky Friday
Keyboards lend a retro 1960’s kind of sound to the surf music themes of this one. It’s not a standout, but still rocks pretty well. It’s not that there is anything wrong with this track. In fact it’s a lot of fun. It just pales compared to some of the other stuff here.
How Do You Sleep? (Live)
With as intriguing of a sound as these guys have it’s great to know that they can reproduce it live. This is another fun slab of their horror-induced rockabilly. The instrumental segment on this one is especially effective. The guitar solo is oh so tasty. It’s an excellent way to end the disc.
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