Review: Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats ‘Nell’ Ora Blu’

When it comes to occult-tinged rock, there are perhaps few finer purveyors in the modern era than Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats. Combining suitably low-fi production, glam rock-esque falsetto vocals, and enough ‘70s horror themes to make Electric Wizard a tad jealous, the Cambridge four-piece have released a slew of fine albums since their inception.

Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats 'Nell' Ora Blu' Artwork
Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats ‘Nell’ Ora Blu’ Artwork

For their newest release, The Deadbeats appear to be pulling inspiration not from their native Britain, but rather Italy, specifically Italian horror, sci-fi and spaghetti western films as well as the synth-laden progressive rock of groups like Goblin. Suffice to say, I was not quite prepared for the jarring difference Nell Ora Blu brings to the stage. Simply put, this is very much a cinematic soundtrack-type of concept album. Those who are expecting the sexy heavy rock of 2011s Blood Lust or 2013s Mind Control are surely in for a surprise.

Il Sole Sorge Sempre hits us with a punchy synthesizer coupled with some snarling guitar tones and mid-tempo rhythm section work. As I listen to it and envision the protagonist of a post-apocalyptic film staggering across a ruined wasteland in vibrant techno-color. The jazzy La Vipera by contrast has the feel of a crime thriller set in the tropics with Kevin R. Starrs giving his familiar croon, while the short but sweet Vendetta (Tema) pulls in some pretty dazzling kraut rock-isms for a suitably sci fi feel.

Much of the albums nineteen tracks, such as La Bara Restera Chiusa and Cocktail Party, are segues and passages, using Italian language samples along with instrumentation (I wish my Italian sister-in-law was present so that I could bug her for dialogue translations), which furthers the record’s soundtrack feel. You literally feel as though you’re listening to the soundtrack of a film that was never made… or has yet to be.

an affectionate love letter to Italian films and music and makes for a deeply rewarding listen…

The title track Nell Ora Blu is a somber nocturnal number, evoking a melancholic detective working his last case, while Pomeriggio Di Novembre Nel Parco – Ochi Che Osservano (whew!) begins with some nice jazzy electric piano during the first half, while shifting into some dirty distorted spaghetti western guitar for the latter half. Solo La Morte Ti Ammanetta finally brings us into familiar UAATD territory with some low-fi metallic harmonized guitar leads and Starrs trademark vocals. We are even treated to some surprising funky Afro-beat rhythms with Guidando Veloce Verso La Campagna.

Calling Nell Ora Blu ‘different’ is like calling Metallica’s St. Anger ‘bad’. It doesn’t quite describe the whole story. This is a very different affair for the Cambridge lads, but it is very welcome. The ‘70s atmospherics and vibes are brought to a whole new level, and the influences from jazz to prog rock are richly interwoven into the cinematic feel.

It’s an affectionate love letter to Italian films and music and makes for a deeply rewarding listen. If you go into it understanding that it is not your standard occultic stoner rock album but something else entirely, you are in for quite a treat. Godere!

Label: Rise Above Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh