Psychobilly idols Melon Batake a go go don’t generally strike me as rule followers, but in the case of their new EP, they abide by an age-old rock n’ roll rule: Keep it short and sweet and make them beg for more. It’s a formula that’s brought us legends from Hasil Adkins to the Ramones to Guitar Wolf to a hundred other rock stars who put a pep in our step and tickled our hormones. You simply can’t beat a great garage stomper, and now, Melon Batake a go go have come to put the idol spin on the barn dance.
It’s worth pointing out that SICKxIDOLSxSICK is the actually the first Melon release from any of these members, so conceptually this could be viewed as a debut if you will, reintroducing the Idols From Outer Space concept with fresh new monster alien blood over the span of 22 minutes of guitar-driven, upright bass-slappin’, drag-racin’, laser-gunnin’, howlin’ at the moon good times.
Save for the intro, these songs have been on Soundcloud, plus they’re currently streaming across multiple platforms, so I think it’s a safe bet many of you have heard this release by now. So let’s talk a little about these tunes, daddy-o…
What’s my favorite song on here? The second song, “Idol Cats” is just exactly what I always wanted from these girls. It’s the shortest song, appropriately enough, and it delivers all that rockabilly energy in a burst that’s over too quick, and that’s the right way to do it. And the thing is, while it is a short tune, it’s the kind of song that in a live setting could be carried out into an extended instrumental rave-up à la Reverend Horton Heat that’d totally burn the house down and leave sweet memories of a good time in the smoldering cinders. (Sweet Moses, somebody make that gig happen…)
Runner-Up Favorite song: “Change The Wolfman” This down-tempo walk down terror lane needs to be on a film soundtrack, the lower the budget, the better!
Most surprising song: The third song in, “Shiroi Mazjin to Hourou No Ou”. What the heck is this thing? Stylistically, it’s a complete departure from everything else on here and comes close to being a fairly traditional idol tune. And you know what? It totally works! And then in true idol fashion, it veers off into another tempo near the end, utterly confounding you and yet leaving you awed at it’s brazen boldness to mess with your head. I love it when you go into a song thinking “Ehh, I’m not too sure.” and ending with “Hit that repeat button right now!.
The “Hook” tune: “Horror Billy Nights” is the song to play for your friends if you’re trying to recruit them into the Outer Space Idol Cult. Naturally, it’s the song the group made an MV for, so they clearly went with the correct strategy. It’s got the right mood, the right energy, and cool riffage to sell the Melon Batake a go go concept.
Now if “Horror Billy Nights” doesn’t sell them on this group, follow it up with “The Idol From Idol Space”. It’s gotta do the trick to bring them around. Failing that, you’re gonna have to dump your joyless, no-fun friend cause you can’t help them.
Okay, but what criticism do you have to offer? Glad you asked that! The only thing I felt a longing for with this release is I want a little more “Psycho” and an extra heap of the “Billy” in all this. The songs are great and I bet they kick live, but I hope next time they record something, they set up a spartan studio in a vacant building where there’s no concern for property damage and really let them go wild and peel the paint off the walls. I know these girls have got the will and dag-nabbit, they deserve the chance to get the police called on em’. Oh, and more theremin in the sound effects please!
Anyway, if you haven’t listened yet, hop onto your streaming platform of choice and give this thing a spin, or alert the proxies to send you a tangible copy even. (I had a little trouble with Amazon Japan’s distribution on this, but CD Japan is listing it too and maybe they’ll be luckier.) SICKxIDOLSxSICK is the sound of a promising group following up on that promise, and that’s all too rare and really deserves your support. If this is sick, let’s hope we never recover.