The Hillbilly Moon Explosion ‘With Monsters and Gods’
‘With Monsters and Gods’ is The Hillbilly Moon Explosion’s new album release and is certainly their best. Who knew that rock’n’roll could still be so exhilarating ... and musically diverse?
A half-English 4-piece hidden away in the unlikely habitat of Switzerland, they’ve honed their craft without distraction for many years. Searching for the right sound they’ve previously recorded in San Diego, Camden and Tooting, but for this album they went back to the local Swiss studio where they made their early rockabilly albums, allowing more time to get it spot on.
The line-up is chanteuse Emanuela Hutter, Oliver Baroni on vocals and stand-up bass, Duncan James on guitar and Sylvain Pe- tite on drums; With Monsters and Gods is also embellished by Oliver’s latent piano skills. Mariachi trumpets came courtesy of the world famous Calexico. The esteemed Pete Thomas provided saxophone, he also played live with the band alongside Martin Winning on horns and Geraint Watkins on keyboards on their recent European tour.
With Monsters and Gods was produced by Oliver Baroni as the band wanted “to reflect the somewhat harder edge you get from the months on the road.” and the result “is a louder, more rock’n’roll album.” The album concerns itself with “making friends with your demons”.
The title track deals with this and ‘deep love’,
while the rest of the album warns what can
happen if “you’re afraid of your demons and ignore them which might lead you to Depression and Desperation and constantly being Down on your Knees.”
Opening with psychedelia meets 50s sci-fi of In Space the following 13 songs are an aural treat firmly rooted in established musical styles (rockabilly, r’n’b etc.). However, with Emanuela’s vo- cals you get “this weird distinctly non-American approach to singing” creating a unique sound. With contributions including Spark Phillips of Demented Are Go and mariachi horns cour- tesy of Calexico, a song that makes you want to start throwing stuff around to and another reimagining Blondie recording in the 50’s, you have a very special album from a band that is not only at ease with themselves but one that’s at its full creative tilt and in the ascendant.
The band are quite an online and vinyl phenomenon, boosted by the My Love For Evermore single, a duet with Spark Phillips. Tattoos of My Love For Evermore have become a thing, with dozens of fans comparing photos on the band’s Facebook page. At least 30 cover-versions add to the 13 million of views of the song’s viral video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/2rlYPb2plaY? t=15s and the 7” vinyl sold out a remarkable seven pressings.
Much revered in France, they were recently hired to help resurrect the career of the film star and singer Arielle Dombasle. She recorded with the band an album of Hillbilly Moon cover versions for Universal.
Last in the UK in 2013, they straddle genres with ease, playing divergent gigs such as the Jazz Café, the Punk Rebellion Festival, Boomtown Festival, and as guests of the Swiss national team at the London Olympics. Their European tours embrace ten countries and this Spring they set out on the road again in support of this new album, hitting the UK in May: 6th: BELFAST Cathe- dral Quarter; 16th: LONDON Borderline; more tba.
‘With Monsters and Gods’ Produced by Oliver Baroni.
FREUDLP120 /CD120 Issued under license from Fredonia Entertainment. UK Dist: SRD (CD The Orchard (digital)
Info: Alan Hauser. UK press: Matt Reynolds at www.savagegringo.com
“DOWN ON YOUR KNEES”
“JACKSON (featuring Sparky Philipps)”