Review: Dance Hall Pimps – Beast For Love

Posted on: Saturday, Apr 21, 2012

DHP BFL Cover.jpg

Dance Hall Pimps – Beast For Love

(Lakeshore Records: LKS342352)

From the striking album cover, to the band name, apperance, and the lavish press kit supplied, the Dance Hall Pimps package screamed out for attention. What we have with the band is an outfit that defy any normal genre, with the music touching all bases, and described as “rootsy garage rock, with a haunted swamp vibe” . . . it’s certainly all that and more, but also with tinges of heavy rockabilly, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass and more!

Formed in Los Angeles in 2009, and coming out of the city’s underground cabaret scene, they comprise: RJC (lead vocals, banjo and rhythm guitar), Jeff Jourard (guitars), Eddie Fish (bass), Vic ‘Baron’ Migenes (drums), Bruce Mann (organ, piano and trumpet) and Steve Carr (saxophone, flute and clarinet) . The 12 tracks on “Beast For Love” comprise of mainly band compositions, and just two classic covers.

The opening bars of “Seems Holy” lull the listener into thinking it’s a gentle folk-influenced tune with its banjo and flute and RJC’s sweet vocal, before the band thunder in; the dark, almost Gothic “Underneath Your Stone” veers all over the place, at times recalling The Doors, but with the banjo giving it a bluesgrass feel. The great “Mommy Was A Zombie” is a breakneck rocker with some fiery guitar from the ex-Motels guitarist, Jeff Jourard, and riveting saxophone solo from Steve Carr.

The opening fuzzy guitar of “Heartbreak Of Dawn” gives the song a psychedelic feel, with some fine organ from Bruce Mann; the soulful groove of “In The Back Of My Mind” is another gem, with its punchy horns and great vocal from RJC. The title cut, “Beast For Love” is a crazy, almost vaudeville/ragtime stomp that fairly rattles along.

“I’m No Prince Charming” is a rocking bluesy shuffle, with fine performances from all, including the rhythm section of Eddie Fish and Vic ‘Baron’ Migenes, and has more excellent saxophone from Steve Carr. “Transylvania Girls”, after a slow start, rides on another great soul groove, with the horns to the fore again.

The album ends with a brace of covers – the classic Screaming Jay Hawkins tune “I Put A Spell On You”, which is delivered here with lovely organ and some delicious slide and lead guitar and saxophone solo; and also the Lou Reed masterpiece “Take A Walk On The Wild Side”, which seems to fit the bands personna beautifully, and indeed, it is a great version.

A most enjoyable, original album and band, but with a serious focus to their music, as they say in the booklet, “a portion of the profits from the record go to support organisations that fight the sex trafficking of children in America and that provide service to child victims – Pimp Music Not People”.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.dancehallpimps.com

www.lakeshore-records.com

 

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