The Playboys have been treading the boards in their home country for the last decade, winning a reputation as one of the hardest-working outfits on the underground garage scene. Their recent album, “Hymns Of The Flesh”, was conceived over mint juleps on the terrace of a decaying plantation mansion while the Playboys were on holiday in Louisiana.
Plans to lay down tracks at a resort in Bermuda were dashed when visa irregularities and a paternity suit (settled out of court) had them turned away at the border. The Playboys do their best work in the dark anyway and recording had them locked away in catacombs underneath Tardis Studios, at Marrickville in Sydney’s Inner-Western Delta, for the best part of a year.
It was serious business, fuelled by hard liquor (shaken, not stirred) and Cuban cigars. The Playboys even undertook a vow of abstinence, eschewing pleasures of the flesh to conserve bodily fluids and maintain a pure focus on the sessions.
Post-production, guitarist Benedict Van Der Smuts applied a series of experimental electro-magnetic sound treatments to the finished tape, which was passed through a bath of animal blood blessed by a Haitian voodoo priest.
The result is “Hymns of the Flesh”, which treads a similar path to one established by their debut, “Ladies, May We Introduce Ourselve”‘, and then deepened by 2005′s “Sonic Seducer”‘, but has a whole new bag of hooks thrown in.
While it’s true that the Playboys still mine that rich Œ60s musical stream first tapped by the Cramps, the Music Machine, Question Mark & the Mysterians and the Fuzztones, they apply their own skewed vision.
Working without a safety net (or bass player), they apply thick layers of organ (Michelangelo Alluro) and fuzz (Benedict Van Der Smuts) to an irresistible rock and roll beat (Lorenzo-Bob de Chauvel), upon which charismatic frontman Tom Von Spatula lays down his sermons.
The Intercontinental Playboys rock like the house band from the Island of Dr Morpheus with a chronic fuzz fetish.
Theirs’ is a hypnotic but probing sound that¹s won many hearts down the years, and the Playboys have supported the likes of Rocket Science, You Am I, The Strokes, T-Model Ford, The Monarchs, Freddy Negro, Penny Ikinger, the Persian Rugs and JJ Speedball.
“Hymns of the Flesh” was released in mid-2009 with the band playing an extensive run of shows to promote it.