The Scabby Ghouls' Self-Titled Debut! By Jeremy Johnson
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
Roll down your damned windows and blowout those shitty car speakers! Scabby and the Ghouls are here to satisfy your spooky punk deficiency!
It's as fun as it sounds. Fresh from Out-O-Tune Records fast, spooky, pun-tastic, and rebellious, The Scabby Ghouls’ self-titled debut album is a 20-minute gore punk party from track one to seven.
Denise Hazard leads her zombastic 4 piece with Bela Lugosian charisma. Her vocals are indulgently eerie when not fanged with delirious rage.
In true and pure punk fashion, each track is neon lightning dipped in blood. Alex Steffens’ basswork stays slimy slick keeping pace with the maniacal dragonfly flapping of Nathan Christensen’s beats and fills. Louie Hazard’s guitar spells are syringe-sharp you feel their speed and precision light up the bass of your spinal cord, and he's never stingy with the solos.
So since this album is so short and so fun, fuck it, I'm reviewing all seven tracks:
Body Surfin’ lets us know Scabby and co are not going to be shy about who they are. This is exactly the sound they're going for. This clever little gem sloshes with surf punk (Body Surfin’ right? I got it like on my third listen), and features some wipeout-reminiscent drum thuds and riptide-quick solos. Naturally. RIP the Poseidon of surf rock himself, Dick Dale, who rode each wave until it crashed.
Scabby Ghouls is the flagship song of their namesake. It's insidiously catchy and impossible not to twitch and jiggle to. It feels strange and right at the same time. Scabby Ghouls sounds like the theme song to a fantastically fucked up, spastic 90s cartoon.
And you gotta have a roots song that nods to your tribe and where you've come from- I use that language hesitantly because the Scabby Ghouls are completely and lovingly inclusive to all (demonstrably during the album debut show, see review!). Midwest Zombies is a song about how nice people are here in the Midwest. Also, yup, ripping guitar solos, fun for all.
Black Dhalia Bombshell is another track I've found spinning insanely non-stop in the back of my brain. “I'm coming to getcha! I'm coming to getcha!” Come on. This is a drive too fast song. This is running at night song. This is a song you scream with your friends, running around a fire you just set.
Dreaddy Krueger is gleefully spazzy if not anthemic. It's about a group who defends themselves against the iconic clawhanded dream-prowler by dosing up on amphetamines. Subtext might say it's about holding your own against evil by breaking the rules. I might be reading too much into that, maybe not!
Next is a song everyone needs on their road trip mix, Road Ragin’. This track brings me back to playing Crazy Taxi on Genesis with that Offspring soundtrack. Dripping with profanity, whiplash speed, a chorus you can yell while slamming your first into your car roof, Road Ragin’ delivers all a song of this guild promises.
The Scabby Ghouls’ self-titled debut wraps up with Knife Fight. Arguably the catchiest song on the disc, Knife Fight kicks off with a blazing bass riff and does not relinquish one note to tranquility as it careens to a close. This song is about that special feeling of haunted house style glee/dread horror fans keep cozy in their heart pockets. It's hot, bright-moon nights when your parents aren't home. It's Halloween night sleepovers. It's virulent and weird and beautiful, which makes Knife Fight a perfect exit track.
Does the album leave me wanting more? Hell yes. Would I change a single thing? HELL NO.
The Scabby Ghouls are opening for foundational revolution punk legends T.S.O.L. at the Lookout on May 28th. See you there! BOOM! I got through the whole review without using the word macabre!