Various Artists - Rock!Wreck!Rule! Psychobilly, Mutant Rock, Deathcult Anthems and Graveyard Party

by Rob Taylor Rating:7.5 Release Date:2015-03-09

When I was a student living at Bondi Beach, Sydney there was a regular Saturday night meet at the Diggers Club, a place where soul-destroying poker machines, beer-stained carpet and low tungsten lighting provided little inspiration. In those days, dilapidated urban establishments were not spruced up with 'big end of town' money.


Saturday night at The Diggers was the night for boys and gals with epoxied, vertically challenged hairstyles, body-fitting tartan shirts and black winklepickers to brood with one another over locally produced rockabilly. All forms, including those hybrid forms which mutated into psychobilly, that is, rockabilly mixed with rock, thrash and punk. Fast rhythms, Johnny Cash-style boom-chika-boom strut, frenetic thrash, insanely propulsive, cymbal-riding drums, rapidly ascending and descending scales, and lyrics which personified the romance of mixed-gender, egalitarian cool.


This sagacious compilation, Rock! Wreck! Rule!, encapsulates this mood, and the strange but wonderful, occultish progression of rockabilly via the machinations of late-1970s punk.

This is no hastily slapped together compilation of weird, b-Grade pub music, but a very impressive survey of styles (psychobilly, deathcult anthems, graveyard party). If you are, for instance, a fan of The Cramps, you're gonna love this immensely.

There are at least 12 tracks I isolated which are stone-cold classics of the genre. From the party-starting founding fathers, The Meteors with ‘Go Buddy Go’, to The Coffin Nails ‘Penetration’, a wickedly brilliant strut replete with the moans and groans of a thoroughly satiated damsel, to the backward-leaning, Sun Records-inspired rockabilly of Restless’s ‘Ghost Town’, Rock! Wreck! Rule! traverses the rockabilly spectrum, and rarely strays from a party vibe.

You only need to play Long Tall Texans 'Get Back, Wetback' to instantly recognise the influence rockabilly must have had upon Joe Strummer and The Clash. Which is why you dismiss this great compilation at your own peril.

Rescued from obscurity from the catalogues of Raucous Records, Nervous Records, Link Records, Anagram Records, and many more, Rock! Wreck! Rule! gives partygoers an excuse to desecrate their local graveyard come next full moon.

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