Back in August, the 23rd to be exact, I wrote a piece about the reissue of Wailin Storms debut EP Shiver. That EP was reissued by Magic Bullet Records as a way to drum up enthusiasm before the release of Wailin Storms debut LP One Foot in the Flesh Grave. The North Carolina (by way of Texas) outfit is heavily steeped in the psychobilly tradition drawing heavily on The Cramps, Samhain and Danzig. Wailin Storms proves that it’s OK to be defined by a genre. It’s OK to hem yourself in, choose your sound and go hard at achieving that sound if you do it well.
The hollow, desert-like twang that opens One Foot in the Flesh Grave is a perfect introduction to the bands sound; and the sound of the pyschobilly genre in its entirety. As the baritone vocals slide into the mix, drawing heavily from Danzig (with perhaps a bit more softness), and the drums ride the cymbals hard to create quick and constant tension peaks, the development of an entire genre is put into perspective.
Despite the harsh desert atmosphere and the dry, reverb-laden twang on the guitars the end result in sound is somehow wet and marsh like. Which makes it completely American. These songs could be about the backwaters of Louisiana or the deserts of New Mexico. Regardless of the location, the subjects are dark. Sounding like a band of heathen preachers on a tear across southern America deflowering the young women of America while burying their brothers’ bodies Wailin Storms create an entire universe in which their band rides bespectacled in a 1950’s convertible with skulls on their tire stem-caps.
While One Foot in the Flesh Grave may not deliver the gritty, unclean sound expected, the album provides a full, entrancing and well designed mix of production. Production so entrancing that the listener can easily picture the band performing these songs in a mildewed and dark church to an audience of skeletons. The point being: the music certainly creates an image and a space in which it resides. It’s as much a performance as it is an enjoyable musical work. It’s a great album that I imagine would only be enhanced by live performance (but I will have to get back to you on that one).