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Satan Takes A Holiday - Aliens

Satan Takes A Holiday
by Harry Green at 07 August 2017, 8:32 PM

Formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 2006, SATAN TAKES A HOLIDAY released their self-titled in 2009, the follow-up “Who Do You Voodoo” in 2012 and then “Animal Man Woman” in 2014. This album, “Aliens”, was released in February 2016. As I made my way through this album I found myself wishing I were listening to MORON POLICE. A retro blend of blues/jazz and metal isn’t exactly rare, and I bring up MORON POLICE in particular because their album “Defenders of the Small Yard” was released in 2014 and kicked ass. It was a wonderfully eclectic funk/blues/alt-rock/metal hybrid with a bunch of other influences. This, by contrast, sounds like JET attempting a copy of that album. The advertising copy states that “Aliens” is about alienation and being out of place, which is ironic given that rock, metal and indeed the better part of Western culture have been fixated on “retro” for 12 years by my count (beginning with the launch of the redesigned Ford Mustang in 2005). It also explains why they’re a hit on Swedish student radio.

The producer gets full marks here. The album sounds retro in all the right ways on all the right levels; the reverb is just right, the density of the guitar tone just thin enough to sound like the abused amps employed by the first rock n’roll bands (particularly on the more indulgent parts of “More Is More”), the drums sharp and punchy. The vocalist,  also does an excellent job imitating the various styles the band visits, most notably his use of the kind of rock n’ roll shrieks employed by the likes of THE BEATLES and ROLLING STONES, and the production distinctly helps in giving a garage-band air to his delivery. That said, the rest of the band are competent but not particularly striking.

There’s very little creativity on this album that I can tell – it’s a pure nostalgia trip. Almost nothing here is really memorable.  “The Beat” sounds like it belongs in a commercial for high-speed internet. “Iron Pipe” is even more gratingly monotonous and disingenuously energetic, perhaps more suited for an advert for the Dodge Dart. You might remember the harmonica solo from “Good Cop Bad Cop”, but not much else. There are some decent tracks, however. “Born At Night” has a more retro rock feel that occasionally brings DEEP PURPLE to mind. “Queen Mother” has production dirtier than half the sludge I’ve heard, with the weakness of being about as compositionally complex.  “Love Me Like I Love Me” has a strong 50’s rock n’ roll sensibility, which is then cleverly turned into a loud sludge riff - but “Get You Girl” is definitely the standout stack. It’s a doo-wop-style ditty, making the most of the album’s extremely high-reverb production and yelping vocals that are evocative of but thankfully nowhere similar to THE FOUR SEASONS.

SATAN TAKES A HOLIDAY don’t combine their retro genres like STALLION, nor do they aim to intensify an old genre like VOLBEAT. It succeeds in what it sets out to do. If you want a younger-sounding ROLLING STONES playing garage rock, go ahead and snap this up.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 2
Production: 10
Memorability: 2

3 Star Rating

1. Memorial Stone Without A Name
2. The Beat
3. Ladder To Climb
4. Get You Girl
5. Iron Pipe
6. More Is More
7. Born At Night
8. Queen Mother
9. Love Me Like I Love Me
10. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
11. Wrinklay
Fred Burman: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Johannes Lindsjöö: Bass
Danne McKenzie: Drums
Record Label: Despotz Records


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Edited 13 August 2020

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