WTF is this? Who the hell are Ultraviolet Booze Factory, and what demons have possessed them? Why is there so much harmonica? And perhaps most importantly, how is it possible I haven’t heard of them before???
OK, to be fair to me as near as I can tell the Electric Honky 10″ from 1997 is the only recording left behind by Ultraviolet Booze Factory, so the fact that I haven’t heard of them before is probably due to just that. But man, this is seriously out there. It’s sort of garage-blues-rock-punk. Garage because it’s lo-fi in the extreme; the blues influence is all over the guitar work and the harmonica that permeates the songs; rock because, well, it rocks; and punk because these guys are out there. Like way out there. The inside jacket shows crushed PBR and Schlitz cans, empty packs of Lucky Strikes and Marlboros, playing cards, a full ashtray, porn… and a little ceramic pig, all on a wicker table. Amazingly that’s kind of the band’s sound too.
I haven’t heard harmonica used so effectively on heavy music since Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard.” For real.
As for Ultraviolet Booze Catastrophe’s sound… well… it is super heavy blues rock (the riff in “Boozin’ & Bruisin'” is straight up George Thorogood’s “Who Do You Love?”). The true signatures are the harmonica and Big Daddy’s (yes, Big Daddy) raspy, angry, and frankly flat out creepy singing. The band effectively changes pacing within many of the songs, bouncing between slow and bluesy, slow and heavy, fast and heavy, and acid trip weird. You don’t get comfortable or into a zone listening to Ultraviolet Booze Catastrophe. They’re in charge. And they’re going to get into your head whether you like it or not. It’s George Thorogood meets Gun Club with a crazy man singing.
Did I mention they’re from Quebec? I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming. At all.
As near as I can tell this 10″ is the only formal release by Ultraviolet Booze Catastrophe, and while you probably won’t randomly run across a copy outside of Quebec/Ontario/Northeast US, you can find it online in the $12-20 range. Amazingly the band also has a track called “Long Tall Texan” (not on Electric Honky) available on iTunes as part of a Quebec comp called Blow The Fuse – Pot-Pourri de Quality, which will give you at least a brief little taste to whet your appetite a bit. It’s pretty representative of the sound on Electric Honky, so if you’re interested go check it out.