The 69 Cats “Transylvanian Tapes”
As we reported in our review of their debut EP (see here https://thesoulofaclown.com/2014/03/22/69-cats-bad-things-ep/), The 69 Cats is actually something of a super group as it consists of Jyrki69 (The 69 Eyes) vocals, Danny B. Harvey (Rockats, Headcat) guitar and Chopper Franklin (The Cramps) bass. Since that release we have been eagerly awaiting this full release, keen to see if they can repeat that brilliance over a full LP. Thankfully the wait is over and we haven’t been left disappointed. This album, apart from a couple of instrumentals, consists of cover songs. Some of those are songs you might expect given the band members backgrounds but there are plenty of curve balls thrown in as well.
It opens with The Doors “People are Strange” which is an absolutely perfect introduction to the band and a perfect fit for their style and sound. It’s dangerous ground covering such a loved band but this version is excellent.
The more expected covers include “Sunglasses After Dark”, “Black Cadillac” and “She’s Not You”. Importantly, however, they are all given an extra twist and 69 Cats feel. In particular, the vocals of Jyrki69 given them all a darker, more sinister gothic tone which really transforms the songs. Also, if you wanted any confirmation of the respect held for Danny B Harvey in the rockabilly world then you just need to know that “She’s Not You” includes a guest appearance by the queen of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson.
In terms of the unusual covers, then the sunny “Runaway” by Del Shannon is a great example of this. It’s an absolute classic song which is given a sinister feel compared to the sweetness of the original and it works perfectly. Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film” is certainly a surprise, and takes some getting use to! It sounds almost like the Sisters of Mercy’s Andrew Eldritch doing karaoke (now that would be a sight!!!). It will certainly raises a sly grin and perhaps shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
In fact, one of the great things about this band is a sense that they are doing this out of love for the music and to have a bit of fun. That is certainly apparent on the classic “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is a riot. They still find some time to deliver some straight up rockabilly with “Your My Baby”
The gothic tone returns with the final track of the album, Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” which is a twisted and scary song. Again it has you thinking of The Sisters of Mercy but actually willing to let a smile sneak across their face!
As with the previous EP, the 69 Cats are a bunch of gothic vampires who bring their own haunting style to possess all of these tracks. Even though it is delivered in a dark tone you still get the sense that the band have really enjoyed recording some of their own personal favourites. What would be perfect is for them to tour the UK so we can get to see them playing in a dark and dingy basement club, very late at night!