‘We were somewhere around Newry, on the edge of the Irish Republic when the drugs began to take hold,’ you can just imagine Philly Byrne gasping. ‘Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Dublin.’
Of the countless pop-cultural references on Gama Bomb’s gleefully unhinged eighth album, their frontman doesn’t actually riff on Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Crank the volume and close your eyes, though, and Bats exudes exactly the same kind of no-brakes chaos.
By their own admission, see, this is the weirdest album the Irish speedsters have ever made. Having waxed lyrical on everything from robotic crimefighters and their corporate antagonists (Beverly Hills Robocop, OCP) to thrash-fighting fascists old and new (Mussolini Mosh, Alt Reich) over the years – once even penning a banger called Smoke The Blow With Willem Dafoe – that’s really saying something. Yet their indefatigable appetite for clever-stupidity keeps bearing fruit.
‘I’m so freaky,’ teases retro-futuristic prologue Under The Pyramids. ‘I’m magnificent.’ No word of a lie. Egyptron wears its Fez with pride, breaking up a 100mph onslaught with melodies that’d get the sphinx grooving – and a cheeky verse from Californian hip-hop legend The Egyptian Lover. Speed Funeral imagines the gnarliest goodbye: strapped to a rocket and fired into outer-space. Living Dead In Beverly Hills lifts from Grieg’s In The Hall Of The Mountain King, just for the craic.