HANCOX Vegas Lights Album Review

The Guana Batz are an English psychobilly band that formed in 1982 in Feltham, Middlesex UK.  They were one of the first psychobilly bands around, and their style and music was influential on the psychobilly scene. Psychobilly music fuses funk and rock, with one of the earliest styles of rock ‘n’ roll – “rockabilly”.

Founding member of The Guana Batz – Pip Hancox (vocals) – has been busy secretly preparing a new band in the California desert, and is ready to unleash their music onto an unsuspecting world. The band is called ‘Hancox’ and the new album – scheduled for 7th December – is called ‘Vegas Lights’.

Pip and his US Guana Batz line up, decided that an outlet for a slightly different style was in order. Powered by the same energy, enthusiasm and passion for live performance as they always had, the boys started playing in directions that they felt were being neglected, in a scene that they had learned to love and respect.

Hancox represents various influences and backgrounds combined into a single group. With two members from London night-life, and the other two who have cut their teeth in the So Cal music scene, Hancox has created a very special and powerful sound and feel.

The album starts with ‘London Streets’. This has a ribald bass line and trilling accompaniment. Sizzling, festering vocals are purulently smudged over the rock ‘n’ roll structure. Brutally buzzing guitars mean that this track is grimier and grittier than you might expect. A little like the actual streets of London.

Toxic Twins’ has a higgledy-piggledy percussive effusion and hiccoughing giddy vocals. These lasso and drag the melody into the dusty core. This song is completely controlled by the musicians, although it seems to struggle to escape at every opportunity.

Poor “Sally” keeps getting all the attention, especially in rock songs. As usual, in the next track, she is portrayed as a twisting little sister and a hippie-lippy boogie woogie tornado of a gal. This song will bop your soul. Then ‘Black Door City’ has a shouting chant and a fuzzy smother of thrashed chords. But that vintage rockabilly bass stays in the room like a stubbornly controlling parent. The kids will not get out of control on his watch.

Beautiful Creature’ is splendidly archaic. A tombola barrel of recognisable styles, all mixed up and awaiting excited revelation. An ice-cool solo guitar drools out spices, like a winning dish at a chilli festival.  Then ‘7th Daughter’ is hushed and tribal. It almost hits the psychedelic psychobilly vein. Far out!

Ellinore’ has a little-house Gothic folk charm. A frosty lace-work of vocals and a withered bundle of guitars creates an interesting miscellany of styles that remains more or less folk-based. But the song drips out other musical styles.  Taken together, the entire piece is contagious and remarkable.

Carburettor’ is a race-running hot dodger of a speedster. Gusts of exotic, blazing guitars and a bulk out of muscle-bound drums. It feels unstoppable.

Bleed’ is slower and more majestic. Until the desert sand is kicked up from the stampede. Then you will need to grab the dusty reins tight as you can – just to keep safe.

Shake’ is scuzzy and sleazy. Sounds like Alice Cooper circa “Love It to Death” days. Buzzy guitars, pounding bass and a dirty-smooth, sensual voice,  all add up to create a true classic hard rock number.

Title track “Vegas Lights”  is a bleak and sentimental walk through the sorry mind of an apologetic soul. In a  lonely haze , the anguished voice stands up stubbornly and without fear. Till the undying heat of the desert cuts him down.

Call Me’ completes the album. It’s the Deborah Harry and Giorgio Moroder “Blondie” number (1980).  It bounces and scuffles. As you might expect. And it is adorned with guitar rhythms that are presumptuous and lumpy. A fitting end to an accomplished album.

– © Neil_Mach November 2012 –

Hancox release their first album  ‘Vegas Lights’ on December 7th on I Sold My Soul Media.



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