I recently received a message from Eddie Burnham, bassist extraordinaire with Warwickshire outfit Hanzo. The boys call themselves a rock'n'roll band influenced by rockabilly, psychobilly and surf. That self description is fairly apt. Anyway, their self released/self titled album was sent and the headphones were put on. A sextet of professionally produced rock'n'roll refrains emanated from the aforementioned sonority accessories. Straight off the bat this is rock'n'roll à la a less garage/more polished sounding Cramps, Bikini Red era Screaming Blue Messiahs or to a certain degree The Irving Klaws. The surf influence is very audible as is the garage and there is a twist of rockabilly. I'm straining to hear any psychobilly though unless the psychobilly they alluded to in their list of influences is that of its very early incarnation (pre-Meteors) when garage rock'n'roll bands were right on the border of garage punk and rockabilly. If so, then yes...I shall strain no more. With all that said
though, the boys aren't ones to be pigeon holed by any one specific genre. This is more than palpable when listening to this album. Songs can go from having a tom tom heavy rockabilly beat with surf twang and then spiral in to a more straight up rock jam session. Lyrically, the songs have sweet fuck all to do with any of those influences mentioned earlier and this is what gives the band their own identity. Dare I say the lyrical content is more intelligent than the usual fare associated with the influences in question? Quiffed-up purists may gasp in dismay at the lack of a slap bass on these recordings...especially by a band claiming such influences, but as I said, the lads refuse to be lumped in in any one particular genre. The rule book is well and truly used as emergency toilet paper in this instance. If you're in the mood for something different then I highly recommend you give Hanzo a listen and leave your closed minded hat on the hook by the door. The album is available to download via the band's bandcamp page and physical CDs are available at shows and direct from the band. Links to buy below...