Anyone who ever played with LA blues punks The Gun Club should be afforded the status of rock’n’roll legend. The fact that Brian Tristan – aka Kid Congo Powers – followed such a feat by playing with both The Cramps and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds means the man is beyond mere mortal categorisation.
This is Powers’ second album with The Pink Monkey Birds, and it sees him returning to his roots with a set of raw and raucous garage rock so primitive that it was actually recorded through the shitty PA of a high school gymnasium somewhere in the Midwest. You can just imagine the scene – a B-movie called something like Hell On Wheels and directed by Roger Corman, with a motley crew of leather-clad juvenile delinquents roaring off on their motorbikes after causing a rumpus at the prom; The Pink Monkey Birds’ ‘Hitchhiking’ is blasting over the top.
But this is not just a collection of straight-up garage nuggets, there are nods to Powers’ Chicano roots with
a cover of Thee Midniters’ spectacularly dumb ‘I Found A Peanut…’ and, courtesy of bassist Kiki Solis and drummer Ron Miller, there’s a real groove here. ‘Funky Fly’ (actually a cover of a track from Bo Diddley’s obscure ‘Black Gladiator’ album) and ‘Black Santa’ sound like The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion circa ‘Orange’, without the added annoyance of someone shouting “blooooze explosion!” every five seconds, while ‘Bobo Boogie’ and ‘Kris Kringle Ju Ju’ strut like The Meters in their prime. In short, on ‘Dracula Boots’ Kid Congo Powers has once again found the juicy jugular of soul-fired, funked-up rock’n’roll. You’d be foolish not to take a bite.