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When 13th Floor Elevators singer Roky Erickson came out of an institution for the mentally ill, his sound had changed considerably from the psych frenzy of his earllier group, replaced with a less effected, harder type of rock. Made in about 1980 in limited numbers and re-issued 4 years ago, Roky and his backing band The Aliens used the album "The Evil One" as a chance to showcase his love for 50s horror movies.
On the market today as "The Evil One Plus One" this is a double cd, with the second disc containing no new musical material but instead contains track interspersed with cuts from an interview on a radio show at the time of the original release, chit chat about the album, the reasoning behind the songs and a bit of banter with radio callers. To the newcomer this added bonus may prove worthless but to fans of the artist, it's an extremely valuable asset.
This album really rocks, there are many great guitar riffs and there is not a single track on the album that is anything less than brilliant. The catchy choruses are sung with a great conviction and the hook lines are extremely memorable. Each track is a successful attempt to bring a film or scary subject into a song, starting off with "Two Headed Dog" a song about the scientist Vladimir Demikhov followed up by three extremely decent songs, including "Creature with the Atom Brain", again using a mad scientist, this time a nazi from the film of the same name as subject matter. Next up are two of my favourite tracks, the fast-paced, fun, rockabilly number "Don't Shake Me Lucifer", the song's lack of airplay is mind-boggling. Then there's Bloody Hammer which would go on to be covered by Queens of the Stone Age, not quite as well of course. Stand for the Fire Demon is a repetitive, rather chilled-out track, almost a sermon in some senses.
The next two tracks are good but still manage to pale in comparison to "I Walked with a Zombie", which is solely made up of those lyrics and occasionally the words 'last night' and yet it seems so magical. One of the greatest love ballads of all time. Two more top songs follow, fuzzy guitar track "Night of the Vampire" which contains the warning "If it's raining and you're running, don't slip in mud because you'll slip in blood, tonight." "Cold Night for Alligators" is yet another Roky Erickson track that has become the name of a band since, a song that portrays a foggy Everglades type area where a monster lurks. "Mine Mine Mind" and "Sputnik" are good tracks without being phenomenal, the album finishes off in style with "White Faces" which will have you singing along instantly, unless of course you've been eaten by one of the monsters described here.
Demons, lucifer and aliens are recurring themes but I can't get enough of this album and highly recommend it. A must have for fans of Roky Erickson and something definitely worth checking out for all lovers of classic rock and horror films.