The night sulks as they leap at your neck in the shadowed dusk, graveyard smoke and slick black hair comes flying in a rage as The Cramps move in with their second studio album, Psychedelic Jungle.
A mix of half cover tracks and half original compositions, Psychedelic Jungleis a sunset drive through the desert night. It is the Californian cowboy story Led by Lux Interior, Poison Ivy Rorschach, Kid Congo Powers, and Nick Knox making up the instrumentation and vocalization of the band. The group felt more like the villains of rock n’ roll who could take the step from the 50’s and 60’s pop culture, shaping something new and deadly.
The band opens with a cover of “Green Fuz” by none other than Green Fuzz. It is a jumping tune with a rifling guitar that shifts and works within different lead sections without following a specific pattern of operation. Opening the flood gates with the care-free style, The Cramps are uplifting and inviting within the first minutes of Psychedelic Jungle.The percussion swinging and Lux Interior being able to form his sly, but sultry sense of style behind his actual delivery is inspiring. The listener is constantly falling into these different emotional bouts of high flying love, then into the pits of despair as The Cramps shift into these different breeds of animal.
Shown on the clicking “Rockin’ Bones”, the guitar is a western whirl with that twang and stagger. It feels so tough, anchored, but easy to swallow as The Cramps has this approachable nature behind their sound. There is never a sense of overpowering nature or abrasive grasp behind their rattlesnake ways of slithering into position and attacking. “Rockin’ Bones” acts more as an interlude which leads The Cramps into the darkness fueled jump of “Voodoo Idol”. Another track that relies on that desert feel, but provides a foundation behind the snap of the snare that grabs the head and forces the listener to move along in a stiff movement.
“Primitive” captures these Californian-esque vampire touch that subtly slides in with the rhymes of “Primitive, that’s how I live. Primitive, I’ll take what you give.” Interior moves well in front of the guitar work of Kid Congo Powers and Poison Ivy Rorschach who together act as a multi-headed machine that feeds into the instrumentation. The Cramps have a distinct style of working around that guitar work and forming a sense of entertaining, but mostly lighting flashes of classiness as well.
There is a strange balance behind their music that makes Primitive Jungle an intriguing album from start to finish. It is a controlled animal that is stuffed into a cage and ready to break free at any moment. They lie and wait for the sun to fall, then The Cramps come out at night.