Review: The Toxenes – Double Creature Feature
National Music Reviews
Double Creature Feature
The Toxenes = The Baby Shakes + The Cramps + The Horror Pops
The Toxenes are a rock ‘n roll trio from Minneapolis. They have previously released a single (2017) and a cassette album Electric Shock (2018). Double Creature Feature is their first LP on Vinyl. For those fans of rockabilly notions riding on garage, all infused with punk-rock messiness, this record is for you. Listening to this record is like binge watching a whole season of sounds. It’s got 18 grooves fully loaded with sugar and doused with rock ‘n roll vinegar.
This group presents a double feature’s worth of material to absorb. Some of the songs here can be found on their Electric Shock album. However, there’s nothing quite like dropping a needle on a vinyl, adjusting the volume near the read and taking in some sweet, sensational b-movie styled rock n’ roll music. After all, that’s how it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Double Creature Feature starts out strong with “Redux.” This is swampy, reverb heavy rockabilly that grabs a hold and shakes life into its victims. The second track, “Monster,” is a bit groovier sounding, but keeps loyal to the same vein as the first track. It’s the kind of track the begs a nod toward Larry and Blue Note’s “Night Of The Phantom” or Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack The Ripper.” The difference, though—it’s just not as spooky. This is not, however, without a valid shot of dramatic flair of labored breathing from the vocalist.
Other tracks, such as “Fingertips,” boasts a bit more of a snotty attitude. The same can be said about “Digital Girlfriend.” This gives a nod toward the band’s punky roots. In contrast, “Take Me To The Movies” is a roots rock ’n roll number. It’s simple and poppy, with a feel to sway to.
The B-side’s “Electric Shock” captures The Toxenes’ ability to mix the pleasures of rockabilly trash with the wild nature of garage punk. It’s swampy and abrasive. In this song, The Toxene’s bring a kind of glamour to rock ‘n roll, much like Lux Interior and Poison Ivy could.
“One Time Thing” lives up to all that is trash rock ‘n roll. The vocalist uses rock ‘n roll to denounce slut-shaming and double standards through the story of a woman’s take on a one night stand. Although from the chorus, one could mistake it for being purely heathenness, it’s a track that falls directly in sympathy with #metoo ideas.
My favorite track on Double Creature Feature is easily “Gold.” Like “Electric Shock,” this tune is on the Electric Shock album. It’s got vibrant savage riffs and a stomping beat. “Gold” is another perfect example The Toxenes’ ability to blend garage and punk into a catchy, spitfire tune—this is the track that will get the dance floor moving. So, when dropping the needle on this one, play it loud.
In contrast, “Leaver” has a slight Hillbilly Moon Explosion–indebted style to it. It’s a kind of slow tune meant for longing lovers to dance close—real close—to the ideal partner of choice. Think of it in the same vein as Hillbilly Moon’s Explosion cover of “My Love For EverMore,” just not as nefarious.
This LP shows off garage punk and trash rock ‘n roll for any listener. No doubt this is what The Toxenes intended. It’s perfect for the functions of a B-Movie double feature, just as the title of the album suggests. The record is also just as easy to get through, with some defining moments that leave their mark. On one track, one might hear something reminiscent of the Cramps, while on another, something with a more pop or punk kick to it.
As far as this record’s weight goes, it’s a fun listen and even got me jumping about with certain tracks. This is most true with “Gold.” This album is good and lives up to what trash rock ‘n roll and garage punk ought to strive for. That being said, Double Creature Feature plays out like other records I’ve come across before in this genre. Still, picking this up would be worth it for some kicks. After all, that’s what the desperate state of rock n’ roll is about, right? Be sure to go forth and check out The Toxene Double Creature Feature via Killjoy Records and give it a spin. –DJ Nix Beat