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Koffin Kats - Our Way and the Highway

Serious Psychobilly from the Motor City

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Koffin Kats - Our Way and the Highway

Our Way and the Highway

Sailor's Grave
It's always good to see Detroit on the national stage for something positive. Over the years it's taken it's share of knocks, and even when it's a remotely positive story, it's for something like the Robocop Statue. So it's great to see some of my homeboys break out on a national scale, like Detroit's own psychobilly trio the Koffin Kats are doing with their newest release, Our Way and the Highway, on Sailor's Grave Records.

Formed in 2003, the band, which consists of Vic Victor (Vocals/Upright Bass), EZ Ian (Vocals/Guitar) and Eric “E Ball” Walls (Drums) has forged it's career through relentless touring with the likes of other psychobilly bands the likes of Mad Sin, Nekromantix and The Meteors. And their Detroit shows (I've been to a handful) are always a greasy, gritty party, as should be expected.

For a band built on years of touring, Our Way and the Highway is an appropriate title, as are some of themes presented on the record. Songs like "Riding High" (Listen/Download), "The Way of the Road" (Listen/Download) and "BOOZINCROSSANATION" (Listen/Download) are road anthems, forged from years of experience traveling and playing in countless bars across the nation and around the world.

What you don't get with Our Way and the Highway are those overplayed 1950's B-movie tributes that have caused many psychobilly bands to become self-parodies. What you do get is that fast frenetic psychobilly songs, driven by a thumping upright voice and a low boom of a voice that could do the horror show stuff - it just doesn't.

The songs thump along at a sweaty pace, telling tales of love and revenge on top of the road songs. It's pretty complex and evolved, painting a picture that's lush and dark but not melodramatic.

The record really excels when the Kats go all-out, laying down a furious psychobilly freakout that sounds like it would leave Victor's string fingers in a bloody mees, were he not so accustomed to doing it. On tunes like "For The Good Times" (Listen/Download) and "BOOZINCROSSANATION," the Kats lay down serious aggression that pulls no punches. This is the sort of thing that puts the "psycho" in psychobilly.

But that doesn't mean they're a one-trick psycho-pony, either. "The Bottle Called" (Listen/Download) has a serious bit of rockabilly swagger, "Locket of Sin" flirts with flamenco (Listen/Download) and "Choke" is a straight up gritty punk rocker of a tune (Listen/Download).

"The Devil Asked" (Listen/Download) comes across as a bit of that B-movie schlock that's all too typical for psychobilly bands, but it's an acceptable interlude on an album that's not overly loaded with it.

Our Way and the Highway readily demonstrates the chemistry of a band that's forged their friendships on long drives from city to city, along with the precision of musicianship of a band that's been playing their guts out when they arrive at said city. Our Way and the Highway is their most polished record yet, and that, combined with their new home on Sailor's Grave, should help make the Kats the next Detroit success story - that has nothing to do with Robocop.

Release Date - January 24, 2012

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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