You'd hardly expect Zurich to be the home of one of a buzzing rockabilly scene, but Hillybilly Moon Explosion are proof of an eclectic retro vista that is becoming popular all over Europe.
Armed with country licks, rock n' roll sensibilities and a dripping of chanson, Hillybilly Moon Explosion certainly have a distinctive sound that is well developed. For their eighth recording the monsters and Gods of the title are not fantastical or mythical creatures, but depression, love, desperation and taking back control. It's about making friends with your demons and the importance of ignoring them at your peril.
In Space has a rockabilly meets Goldfrapp drum riff with some ethereal vocals from our siren songstress, Emanuela Hutter. Temptation is part Dick Dale part Maratchi with a bit of Siouxie and The Banshees added for good measure. The way that Hutter, teasingly plays with the music and the vocal elements bring in some theatricality (al la Alex Harvey.) Depression gives Oliver Baroni one of many outings as a vocalist on this album and a chance to step away from the guitar. The infectious rockabilly dance beat masks the tracks far more serious message. The punk Americana influence creeps in with Midnight Blues with crashing guitars, slap bass and a menacing yet groovy feel that runs paradoxically through the album.
There's a 50's beat to Love You Better which is really given credence by Baroni's dry vocals. Black Ghost picks up that sinister overtone, adding a sexy guitar before a shit kicking pick up halfway through. Heartbreak Boogie is a perfectly matched duet between Hutter and Baroni. Blondie's Call Me gets an Americana makeover which is a welcome yet surprising addition to the album. Hutter matches Debbie Harry for nonchalant attitude and sexuality. It's punk meets rockabilly and it's pretty fabulous. This would be a perfect place to wrap the album up, but these cats just keep partying for another three tracks which does drag the album out, making it feel overly long. The remaining tracks are just as you would expect from hearing the rest of the album. Rose Outside, the album closer, is the kind of feel-good track you'd see on Jools Holland. It certainly ends the album on a vintage high.
The nocturnal vibe of the album certainly makes it one for the vampires, it's a great cabaret album that would surely benefit from a live performance.