Spook and the Ghouls

Spook and the Ghouls – Whitechapel Murders

Nervous Records – NERD 043 [1988]
Reaper Grim – Demon Barber On Fleet Street – Vampira – Nightmares From Beyond – Love Me So – Let ‘Em Swing – Twisted Kind – Gallows Are Awaiting – Werewolf In Our Town – Dead Flesh Creeping – Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Live And Raw – Death Ride – Rocker

Spook and the Ghouls

Spook and the Ghouls formed in the mid-1980s with Simon Badminton (vocals and double bass), Dave Kingdon (guitar), and Vic Greener (drums). The band’s outrageous makeup on the album cover tends to make them lose credibility. But it would be a shame to stop at this first sight because you would be missing out on an original group that stood out in the Psychobilly landscape of the second half of the 1980s.

Spook and the Ghouls develop a highly original style that is dark, grim, and very gloomy—in other words, gothic—but always melodic and in which the Rockabilly base remains very present.

The group’s success lies in their unique approach. Their music is not about being loud or aggressive. It’s about creating an unsettling, even oppressive atmosphere as if the singer is whispering a story directly into your ears. This aesthetic is perfectly captured in their cover of Bauhaus’s ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead ‘. The guitar work is a journey through various sounds and textures, from rock’n’roll to garage (Vampira), with detours into Surf and Metal (Nightmares from Beyond). The few Rockabilly tunes, lighter and bouncy, may seem out of place, but they are surprisingly effective.

Ultimately, when the trio plays a more classic and predictable Psychobilly, it loses its personality and is less convincing (like on their cover of AC/DC’s Rocker). Fortunately, there are very few.

If you’ve only skimmed through this record or are open to discovering a different album, I urge you to give this hard-to-pigeonhole record a thorough listen. You might just find yourself drawn into the unique world of Spook and the Ghouls.

The Radioactive Kid

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