From the opening chords of the lead in track on the self title debut album from Punch Drunk Cabaret, a stiff musical cocktail of rockabilly, outlaw country and steam-punk swing is delivered in the staunched steeped traditions of Stray Cats, John Mellencamp and Tom Waits. The Cabaret is a vaudevillian steampunk 3 ring circus of musicianship which is most closely rivalled by nothing seen for at least 20+ years. Ring Master Bandmeister Randl B in his signature grey bowler hat and button up vest, wingtip shoes and polyester slacks brings the show front and center inviting the audience in closer with the musical equivalent of "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages. . .gather round from town to town". He weilds his guitar like the antique bullhorn used in circus days gone by; as with any circus sideshow, a ringleader is nothing without his strong supporting cast.
Like the characteristic silent Strongman and clad in his finest pseudo undertaker capone-esque threads is the bassman, Sawbones Terry Grant. Terry in his tall black, beaver felt top hat, long suit coat adorned with tails and a broken chained timepiece and his custom 12 string electric bass. Rounding out the trio is the Right Reverend Robin Eklund, the spiritual adivsor and mentor for those long nights travelling from venue to venue in their native land - Dustbowl, AB.
From the opening cymbal crash from the Right Reverend Robin Eklund on the lead in track "Two Brown Bottles of Beer" the band takes ownership in a non - apologetic swinging blaze of guitar solos, gravel throated vocals and throbbing bass lines with a grooving subverse sure to make your head knock to and fro. The Bandmesiter Randl B takes you on a mesmerizing journey with his vocals and guitar playing, his stage antics of high kicks and vintage playing stance foreshadow the underlying vintage punk overtones of their musical influences along their path to success. Bandmeister Randl and Sawbones Terry reel and back forth with the energy of runaway freight train, churning side to side; their playing styles are deeply similar and echoing each other clearly in the harmonies. Reverend Robin is the often hardly silent third member of the trio - his playing gives the PDC it's steady characteristic unmistakeable sound, like a well running motor, his arms a fury of driven impacts to his drum kit and delivering a pleasurable beating each time.
The second single from the album which accompanies their second official video release is for the "Immaculate Pompadours", this kitchy steampunk rockin' twang medley is an ode to that favorite hole in the wall drinkin' spot in the middle of nowhere and the eccentrics visiting the locale daily. The song and video is a buffet of burlesque beauties, farmhands drinking moonshine, livestock, pickled eggs, pomade and live music - a better way to spend any day ? I think not!
The fourth track brings to life the agigated pulse driven "Knuckles", this song and it's feverish playing style and quickened vocals will challenge any fan to keep pace. The root of the PDC becomes very evident as "Knuckles" crests on the horizon, this band is not to be underestimated. The playing accumin and credibility in sound technical ability comes shining through the surface as the disc plays.
The formula for success for the Punch Drunk Cabaret is clear and the message is equally strong; keep with what has brought you this far, build on the successes of this album and grow the act organically and keep it enjoyable. The breavity with this album is a refreshing change, the ability for the PDC to constantly keep the listener engages and participating in the album is to keep a fan for a lifetime, in today's saturated this is a rare and cherished commodity -
Punch Drunk Cabaret - Punch Drunk Cabaret Track Listing: