The Vultures | The Vultures (Big Muddy)

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I’m sure the Vultures hear it all the time: “Oh, but you’re all so young!” Yeah, the trio of young ’uns in this rockabilly outfit probably gets carded at R-rated movies. Still, they’re old enough to harness the joyous, room-shaking power of roots rock and the spooky magic of surf instrumentals. And when they play out in their hometown of St. Louis, concertgoers often take a look around and say, “Oh, but the crowd is so young!” There’s something real cute about this coed gang of retro-rockers, something innocent and fresh. Their fans include 14-year-old girls inspired to dye their hair black, and guys old enough to remember tailfins, too.

Their debut LP, The Vultures, captures some of that live power. The tunes include a slow rockabilly burner called “Shock Therapy Blues” and a stomper with an aggressive guitar part from Ryan Koenig called “Strychnine.” “Drunk Weekend” is an instrumental barn-burner that conjures images of greasers gettin’ loaded.

It’s the band’s cover of the Misfits’ “Attitude,” though, that reveals the secret weapon: Ashley H.’s voice. When this gal screams, she really wails. Her angry caterwaul is like a woman yelling for her man to come in offa the porch, put down the bottle, and help me with the baby, goddamnit. AND I MEAN RIGHT NOW, LESTER!! She’s ain’t gonna be ignored. When the Vultures do this one live, they really pound out that punky, rebel rock, and the crowd just has to jump up and down. Joey the drummer keeps the train on track, and the whole band’s bright-eyed enthusiasm is a revelation.

You can hear the Cramps, the Ventures, and Chuck Berry in there. The Vultures aren’t innovators; they’re just real good. And their entire eight-song CD clocks in at just over 21 minutes, so the kids don’t overstay their welcome.

Try out “Miami Surf Graveyard.” It’s an instrumental, with that round, pinging surf reverb on the guitar. It gets under your skin like a Bettie Page tattoo. Maybe makes you wanna buy a carton of Marlboro Reds and a used chopper, and go for a little ride.

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