The Devil Made Us Do ItSunny Bastards
By Cole Faulkner
Brighton, England psychobilly greats Long Tall Texans took a break from the studio between records – a long break. Eight years to be exact. So if you thought they were on the way out or going the way of the Dodo, you’d be excused. But, as the saying goes, you can’t keep a good band down. And when a band like this jumps back in studio, you know it’s not for any delusions of fame, money and fortune, but for the love of the music. That love couldn’t be clearer than with their latest studio album, The Devil Made Us Do It.
Chalk full of the heavy upright bass thumping, iconic distorted guitars and a strong country twang psychobilly fans crave, Long Tall Texans saddle up to offer thirteen tracks that feel as if the band had never missed a beat. Opener “Taxi!” lets listeners absorb nearly two minutes of the finest instrumental western tinted psychobilly around. The steady beat of Mark Carew’s slapping bass and Matt Windler’s pulsing distortion should be enough to make long time fans weak in the knees.
Wasting no time, the band gets their goof on with plenty of tongue-in-cheek antics and well-natured laughs. “Girlfriend” pokes fun at a bloke brushing off the news that his girlfriend that has “too much loving for just one guy” and has started branching out to her female friends for, or as Carew playfully puts it, “someone who understands you, in a way that I can’t do.” The protagonist sounds more amused than offended as he comes to realize the nature of his gal’s “girls night” plans.
Other cracks at slapstick include “Kamikaze Killer,” which similarly plays out in harmless jest in a very nippy description of Japanese suicide pilots’ deadly descents, and “Sex, Beer & Psychobilly,” which bares the stamp of any reputable band in the genre with the track title doubling as the song’s chorus and band’s mantra. Then there’s the cheeky rockabilly number, “I Fell In Love With A Zombie,” and howlin’ werewolf rocker, “I Used To Feel Funny,” each tying closely to the psychobilly monster gab. The Devil Made Us Do It keeps to the unspoken rule that psychobilly should avoid controversial topics and just focus on having a raucous wild ride.
A western backdrop has always served as the Long Tall Texan’s signature stage, and while every song includes that undeniable twang, a few key highlights rise to the occasion. “Kill Me” in particular trots along a dusty path with plenty of spaghetti western tuned highpoints. Think Rumble Club meets Mat Dog Cole and you’re on the right track.
All said and done, The Devil Made Us Do It will excite long time fans and catch the ear of the modern psychobilly crowd. The Long Tall Texans have built a career around their wacky humour and tight psychobilly knowhow, so it’s hardly surprising that The Devil Made Us Do It effortlessly strengthens that reputation.