Dirty Stash - The Beat Taboo (Off The Hip)
This is swampy, tub-thumping, blues-y bayou rock and roll with more meat on its bones than a fat lady in a St Kilda cake shop at lunchtime. Of course it's from Melbourne, but it probably's done time washing dishes in a Memphis roadhouse, soaking up Alex Chilton stories.
The Beat Taboo take their cues from so many different places that you could easily name-drop half-a-dozen influences and come up winning and grinning. I suppose the Cramps are the obvious one (dig the "Human Fly" references on "Splinter Beach") but that's a tag that's as limiting as it's lazy.
Looked at their whole career, the Cramps were really a portal leading back to a rich assortment of '50s rockers and freaks. To whom, The Beat Taboo (and plenty of other garage-y bands) owe a deep debt.
A run-through of "Dirty Stash" in a smelly bar could be the live counterpart to one of those "Songs The Cramps Taught Us" compilations. Blessed with a time machine, they could be an opening act for The Scientists in their paisley and long hair phase.
The beat is this side of 4/4 primal (that's Mick Baty of The Crusaders, Stoneage Hearts and Finkers on the tubs, doing a fine job) and there's lots of room in-between the twang 'n' purr guitars of Shannon Driscoll and Yolanda De Rose. It's the distinctive blues growl of Pange Niemoeller, however, that ultimately gives The Beat Taboo their character.
The songs are great: “Big City Flu” sounds like “She’s So Fine” with a terminal case of pleurisy - and that’s meant as a compliment. "The Voodoo Beat" is the dirtiest sound here with a fuzz-line painted down its spine like double yellow lines on black topped asphalt. "Dead Head" and "Ride The Wave" invoke more fuzz but the pedal doesn't prevail throughout the album.
"Cat Lady Man" sets the scene to a sleazy lounge bar at 4am with a pick-up underway and Tav Falco's Panther Burns playing low on the in-house sound system. The playing is low and groovy - in total contrast to the gut bucket blues vocal. Chris Benette's walking bass sees the horny couple out the door.
"Bone Tequila" (whose lyric gives the album its title) pits scratchy guitars against a minimal Bo Diddley beat and Niemoeller's ranting. In "Death on Study Park", Niemoeller intones: "Nobody gets out of here alive" without a hint of irony, and his guttural, decaying bluesman howl is a long way removed from Ol' Jimbo's piss-and-poetry-stained bartione croon.