The E.C. Comics cover homage should hip you right away to what The Exotic Ones are all about – B-movie monster rock straight out of the local neighborhood mad scientist’s laboratory played with enthusiastic garage rock abandon.
The Exotic Ones are a Nashville supergroup blending members from The Secret Commonwealth, garage rockers The Reverbians, and Trauma Team. There are The Tartan Phantom – guitar, Mr. Ghoul – bass, Zoomga – guitar, Space Fink – drums, and The Purple Astronaut – keys, with vocals and theremin playing by most all of them. They also have the powerful spirit of guiding light “Hollerin’ Jack” Jack Hunter Daves Jr. who sadly passed away last year to help them on their journey toward musical perfection. That’s him on the CD cover with the Frankenstein’s monster model.
Atomic-Age Tales For Monster Kids is a musical teaser for a full length album to come. It was put together specially for Wonderfest, an annual horror convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and since I couldn’t attend the convention I was lucky to get my hands on a copy.
It contains six original songs representing a good cross-section of The Exotic Ones’ thrill club rock and roll. There are apes gone wild, mad horror show hosts, zombies, werewolves, gunslingers, and the Lost In Space robot all making appearances over the course of the mini-album.
A song like “Ape Wild” which mentions Lancelot Link and Bear from B.J. And The Bear is ahead of the game to start with, but once you top it off with some infectious music you’ve got a potential epidemic of people making ape noises waiting to breakout.
Live shows usually feature middle aged zombies rushing the stage when “Dawn Of The Dead” gets played and it does have a lifeless quality to it with what sounds like a disembodied marimba playing along. The Exotic Ones save the biggest thrill for the last with “B-9 Robot” which veers into the punk-pop zone before heading out into deep space for good. It’s exuberant and fun just like Lost In Space (The TV series, not the movie).
The other three cuts on the album, “The Doctor Is In”, “On The Prowl”, and especially “Gunslinger Man” also make for great rock and roll. It’s obvious there’s a lot of love for the subjects The Exotic Ones tackle. You can’t fake sincerity.
If you dig 60s-flavored garage tunes, if you’re ever wanted to visit The Munsters and The Addams Family, if you know the Secret Chimp handshake, or have a copy of Harlan Ellison’s Horn Book you will probably love The Exotic Ones. If you simply like good rock and roll, then don’t let the horror themes scare you away. Copies of Atomic-Age Tales For Monster Kids can be acquired through The Exotic Ones Web site where all sorts of groovy madness can be found.