HAMILTONES, THE: Dracula Invitational: 1791: LP

Jul 20, 2021

I’m sometimes suspicious of albums that lead with too high of a concept, but this one is so musically solid, well conceived, and well executed. This band deserves extra points indeed. The title of the album is centered in front on a black sleeve. It also contains a weathered envelope resembling an old letter with a phony wax “H” seal on it. I should break it to examine the packaging further, but I don’t have the heart to do it at the moment. I feel as if I’ve been invited to the opera. The music is based in ’60s instrumental surf. The band plays well. This isn’t just a group aping old styles for the sake of a concept. There’s a nice creepy build in “Oh No, We’ve Made a Mistake.” “Garlic Cross” has a punchy run up and down the scales that speeds up midway and drives hard. Woven in are various old-school horror keyboard sounds adding to the feel of a warbling late night horror host theme. The original late night horror hosts often used pop instrumentals like Booker T. & The M.G.’s’ “Green Onions” in their late night broadcasts both to add a spooky sound and appeal to the kids. This album would feel right at home in that environment. It’s also solidly surf-tastic for those in who rattle in retro fare. If you collect horror records or enjoy retro smokers, this album is a must have. –Billups Allen (Big Neck)