Tuesday, 23rd January 2018. 10:46:59pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Devilish Presley- Disgraceland


Artist: Devilish Presley
CD Title: Disgraceland
Label: November 10th Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 7/15/04

When I first heard of Devilish Presley, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Their name, perhaps, conjured images of a tongue-in-cheek cult band blending retro rock and roll with goth, an assumption that was furthered by the album's opening retro horror film soundbyte. However, despite the band's gothabilly-esque name and equally gothabilly-esque album artwork and imagery, Disgraceland is neither goth nor rockabilly. Instead, the duo's second album delivers 37 minutes of pure radio-friendly alternative rock spread out across ten tracks.

Centered around the vocals and guitar of Johnny Navarro and anchored by the bass and backing vocals of Jacqui Vixen as well as simplistic but effective drumming, the band's sound combines elements of straightforward alternative rock with hints of 80s hard rock, retro glam, and punk. The disc's plodding opener, "The Message", kicks things off with great sleazy rock guitar riffing, while "She's Not America" ups the tempo for a more upbeat, almost poppy number driven by steady distorted guitars with interesting muted guitar string accents. "Cover Version" is more of a toe tapping bass-driven number with a great rock chorus. "Saturday Night Satellite" takes things in a catchy 80s hard rock direction with strong melodies and some damn fine guitar, countered by the more laid back mid-tempo bass and slightly Bowie-esque glam rock balladry of "Alien Turf". "Pin Cushion Girl" takes things one step further, delivering a nice moody ballad consisting almost exclusively of vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, while "Gonna Find What's Shakin'" puts the album back in high gear with a blend of punk energy and retro rock guitar. In fact, its retro rock blend is, perhaps, the moment on the album that comes closest to fitting the band's name and album title. "Memento Mori" is a fairly standard but quite excellent bass-driven rock track with a few very catchy moments. "Little Red Schoolhouse" is a mid-tempo rocker occasionally nicely accented by a repeating high-pitched loop or two. "Naked Testament", on the other hand, is a slice of punk-infused hard rock that, while perhaps one of the album's weaker tracks, ends the disc nicely in a bath of guitar feedback.

While a little bit on the short side, Devilish Presley's Disgraceland is a well-written, well-performed, and well-produced album with great guitar work and a strong bass foundation. Those looking for something akin to what the band name and the album title suggest might be a bit surprised by the band's more upbeat, straightforward retro alternative/glam/hard rock delivery, but Disgraceland is likely strong enough to please despite any preconceptions that may exist.

 

Devilish Presley website: www.devilishpresley.com

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