Recently reissued debut collection from Flaming Star drummer and crew of nefarious nice guys,
The Tropics are Flaming Star Joe Whitney and a gathering of London’s kitsch cats and gangster chic underground gutter hounds (including Jake Vegas, Urbane Voodoo Machine P.R. Angel and brother Flamer Huck). This here is a collection of recordings from various speakeasies, cellar casinos and upstairs back-rooms of east-end back-alley boozers from 1992 to 2004. A low-key affair conducted appropriately at street ends so dark everyday folk are wary and speak only hearsay about what goes in the house on the corner...if it’s occupied at all. Restlessly inventive...intoxicatingly hypnotic...a sultry stew flambé-ing the Flaming Stars further into flamenco flavoured Latino bordellos and sweaty oriental opium dens (the rather wondrous and beautifully sung Ue O Muite Aruko which sounds like Geisha girls dancing on rose petals while levitating on flute and xylophone mists)...rounds of cards played, deals shook...suckers shook down in experimental folk lounges of Eno ethereal swinging rags and raging voodoo vibes. Fittingly for such a master-class in midnight mores our first sip is a surreal shiver through Upside Down...yarse, Ms Ross’ disco diva classic magicked into an exquisite mambo jive, hot under the collar vocals whispered like incantations and curses by a private eye straight outta Chandler as the indigenous poison administered by his lap-dancing Laotian goddess takes full effect and heaves-ho the anchor on his hallucinogenic express taking in coconut growing hip-hop from Middle Eastern bazouks (The International Sweet 16 – which has a slightly amended chorus appended on this version), Schnapps soused Germans grimacing in shell-shocked delirium between murderous mortar blasts and nightmare nursery rhymes from a flatlining Brothers Grimm (Trollmors Vuggesang), sassily sardonic put-down Balls To Call – surface sweet as Rosemary Clooney singing a 1950’s TV ad for domestic products whilst delivering an earthy riposte to her handsome chap for not calling – and myriad mordant folk tunes plucked from hillsides, vineyards and decaying farmhouses. Oh, and goth-doggin’ as Bauhaus’ Honeymoon Croon spit-roasts (in the traditional tribal sense) Alien Sex Fiend on Angie! Even moreso than the ‘Stars this is evocative, unceasingly creative and cinematic soundscapery that’d perfectly accompany arthouse noir, Spillane style slick dickery and nocturnal Nosferatu wanderings (see the twitching Tricoteuse). Highly and heartily recommended. Awopbop yerselvises a copy on itunes, Napster or Amazon too.