Southern Culture on the Skids latest tells of zombies, witches, bats and swamp things, but never stoops to the novelty silliness of the Monster Mash. Instead, it comes off like Link Wray and his Wraymen recording in a haunted house. The title track has the wretched strut of the Stooges and repeats the word “Zombified” until it infects your vocabulary. Vampires catch a shout out too with “Bloodsucker”, an adversarial rant that crosses the dark world of Dracula with a happy-go-lucky island beat.
Topical songs aside, the real monster on Zombified is Rick Miller’s guitar playing. It’s big, retro, swampy and completely inimitable. SCOTS’ bassist Marry Huff and percussionist Dave Hartman make plenty of room for Miller with their simple yet exuberant rhythms. That instrumental co-action is showcased on their menacing instrumental improvement on Creedence’s “Sinister Purpose”.
While the best parts of Zombified are re-releases from an old Australian tour import, the new tracks are proportionally creepy. The sound-effect segues and theatrical performances result in a perfect soundtrack for a spooky late-night drive on a country road and provide a dark counterpoint to the happy-ass, Kentucky-fried camel walks that Southern Culture on the Skids is known for.