Review:'Ripper, Vince & the Rodent Show' 'Planet Shockorama'
- Label: 'Cherry Red Records'
- Genre: 'Punk/New Wave'
- Release Date: '30th June 2017'
The gaudy, lurid cover art and retro lettering positions this release within the context of its inspirations in an instant. That they began their career covering songs by Alien Sex Fiend and The Cramps (songs by each feature on here, with 3 from the latter) should come as no surprise (not least of all because The Rodent is former ASF member Rat Fink), and sure enough, Vince Ripper and the Rodent Show’s fourth release, ‘Planet Shockorama’, is big on the schlock horror stylings.
It’s a toss-up to determine what’s more disappointing: the obviousness of the approach to the material, or the obvious choice of songs. The B-52s ‘Planet Clare’ is first up. It starts with fear chords and mock-creepy spoken word vocals before blasting into a doom-disco beast with crunchy, trebly guitars, the lyrics shouted, spiky and post-punk. So far, so predictable.
Songs by Danzig (‘We Don’t Care’) and David Bowie (‘Scary Monsters’) are subjected to the duo’s hyped-up post-punk treatment, meaning that alongside Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’ and Suicide’s ‘Rocket USA’, they all sound a bit like ‘Monster Mash’ covered by The Batfish Boys.
That said, it’s not terrible by any means: the guitars are dirty and simmer with an overheated afterburn, and the snarling attack of ‘Outer Limits’ comes on like James Ray’s Gangwar and definitely adds a brooding twist to the original. Meanwhile, ‘I Can’t Find My Mind’ is a glorious exercise in swampabilly excess which finds the duo clearly in their element.
Given the fact that they’re playing songs they clearly like and are influenced by, ‘Planet Shockorama’ doesn’t sit in the ‘comedy’ covers bracket occupied by the likes of Hayseed Dixie and Tex Pistols, and nor are they so preoccupied with maintaining total fidelity to the originals as to be an ‘absolute post-punk’ tribute / wedding band. All of this actually places Vince and Rodent in unusual territory on this release. No real shocks, but it’s good fun.