The Quakes is a psychobilly band that was formed in New York state in 1986, and is still active to this day. The band originally started out as a rockabilly band, and gradually adapted some elements from the punk scene in their style, which garnered the group a small following the US. In 1987, however, the band moved to London in an effort to make it in the European psychobilly scene, which was much more popular than its American counterpart. The group ended up playing for some large crowds, which quickly landed the band a record deal. This album, The Quakes (1988), is the groups debut record. I’m pretty stoked to give this one a listen, so with that said, I’m going to jump on into the music.
“Pack Our Bags and Go” gets started right away with some cascading, distorted guitar chords that continually rain into the soundscape. Oh wow, I really dig the reverb on both the vocals and the guitar in this track. Holy smokes, the guitar launches into a sort of solo that almost has a bit of a shoegazing feel with the combination of the reverb and distortion, and a definite punk feel through which the rockabilly licks contain. Oh wow, I’m really digging this track. It reminds me a bit of The Cramps album I listened to recently, but almost a different style of punk rock is combined with the rockabilly style with The Quakes thus far. Great track, and I’m excited to hear more.
Oh wow, “You’re Dead” begins with some sort of nearly sinister sounds from the tense, reverberated, churning power chords from one of the guitars. Oh wow, I’m really digging the reverb on these tracks so far, which make the band sound like they recorded the album inside a massive church hall or something of the sort. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Other Side of the Tracks” starts out with a really interesting mixture of rockabilly and anguish with the guitar and drums, and I’m absolutely glued in. Oh wow, I’m really digging the guitar solo in this track, which brings about more rockabilly licks and a punk attitude. I really dig the ending bass line of the track. Great tune.
Oh wow, “Where Did It Go” starts out with a really interesting dark, mellow riff that the band continues to repeat, and almost reminds me of The Doors at the first. Oh wow, the band launches into another movement that reminds me a fair deal of the Dead Kennedys mixed with some rockabilly sensibilities, and I’m hooked. Great track.
Oh wow, “You Are the Scene” starts out with a raw, loose bass line that reminds me a ton of Mike Watt and Minutemen. Holy smokes, the track launches into a super groovy rockabilly guitar solo set to a punk rock beat and bass line, and I’m absolutely digging the sound. Wow, great track.
“Psycho Attack” starts out with some super reverberated and distorted guitar that nearly verges on a garage punk sort of sound as it walks the line between punk and rockabilly. I really dig the intensity and loudness of the drums of the track. Holy smokes, the bass line gradually becomes louder and louder as you hear the chunky and fat playing from the bass reminiscent of Mike Watt. Great track.
“Show Me” gets started with some high, punk rock energy from the instrumentation as the tune sounds like a sped up, intensified rockabilly track. I really dig the vocals in this track, which remind me of Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedys. Great tune.
Oh wow, “Nine Lives” begins with a slow, monotonic droning from the vocals and guitar at first that set a somewhat dark tone for the track. Oh wow, the track jumped into a sort of darker psychobilly movement, which sort of reminds me of the darker style of the L.A. rock scene from the mid-to-late 1960s. Great track.
Holy smokes, “The Deal” has hooked me in right away with a sound that very much reminds me of “Death Ain’t Got No Mercy”, originally by the Blind Reverend Gary Davis, as it starts off slow and somewhat brooding before launching into something that almost has a dark surf rock sound set to a punk rock beat with the high energy and reverb of the instrumentation. The vocals are nearly screaming at certain points in the track as well, which only add to the sort of darkness of the soundscape. Great track.
“Psychobilly Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” gets grooving right away with an interesting mixture of acoustic guitar strumming alongside a low, fat bass and a somewhat dark electric guitar behind it all. I really dig the way the soundscape sweetens up and relieves tension for a few brief moments throughout the tune, and then launches back into the sort of dark chaos that builds up more tension. Super sweet track.
Oh wow, “Hangman’s Noose” starts out with a super sweet and low bass line, which sets a sort of dark mood for the soundscape. Oh wow, the guitar work again nearly has that sort of dark surf rock sort of sound for the chords and a dark rockabilly sound for the different lines. Holy smokes, I’m really digging the guitar work in this track. Great tune.
Oh wow, “Satan On My Side” gets grooving right away with a dark tone, and high, chaotic energy in the chunky bass line, super strong beat, and highly reverberated vocals, which all remind me a lot of the Minutemen. I really dig the distortion and reverberation in the guitar work, which seems to continually diverge from a sort of rockabilly sound further into hardcore punk as the track continues. Super sweet tune.
Oh wow, “1,000 Kats” immediately starts out with some sweet chords from the electric guitar that seem to relieve some tension built up in the previous track. Oh wow, the beat and chords in this track seem to have a lot more of a rockabilly origin, while punk elements like the high energy and the fat, chunky bass line are incorporated into the track. Wow, great track.
“I Can’t Stay” starts out with some distorted and reverberated guitar chords that remind me a ton of surf rock that was influenced by rockabilly, while a high energy beat and bass line come in with some punk rock flavors. Oh wow, I’m really digging the groovy guitar solo in this song, which seems to walk the line between rockabilly and punk, nearly taking on a surf rock sound in the process. Great track, and a great way to finish the album.
Holy smokes, I’m glad I checked out this album tonight. If you’re into punk bands like Minutemen or even the Dead Kennedys, and especially if you’re into groups like The Cramps, then you might want to consider checking out this psychobilly album, which tows the line between punk rock and rockabilly with tons of reverb, high energy, distorted guitar work, and fat bass lines, which nearly verge onto a surf rock sound at times. If you do decide to check this album out, I sincerely do hope that you enjoy the listening experience at least as much as I did.