Originally an industrial dance unit for the infamous Wax Traks records, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult were akin to label mates KMFDM as they served up a mix of Ministry-inspired vocals and Meat Beat Manifesto throbbing beats. They switch gears after only two discs in 1991 with the release of Sexplosion. The album took on a campy and whimsical feel and spawned the hit, “Sex on Wheelz,” from the film, Cool World. The recording featured heavy dance beats, sampling and adult content. Guided by the raspy voice of Groovy Man, the group tackled such taboo subjects as bondage, prostitution and perversion. Subsequent records such as 13 Above the Night and Hit & Run Holiday added to the group’s repertoire as they grew into their unique role. While they have returned to their industrial roots with 1997’s Crime For All Seasons and 2009’s Death Threat, the band seems to feel most comfortable with their signature sound.
The bands latest offering, Spooky Tricks, is business as usual and lacks the charm of Sexplosion and 13 Above the Night. This is apparent from the first track, “Room on the Moon,” which sounds more like the Chemical Brothers than the Thrill Kill Kult. The title track is akin to anything found on previously released and shows little or no growth by the band.
However, there are a couple of bright spots on the album such as “Bella Piranha,” which features distorted guitar riffs and a driving rhythm which is intoxicatingly delicious. Another track which shows some originality is the industrial-tinged “The Way We Live Now,” which returns the group to their Wax Trax roots and is furthered by the haunting cut “The Strange Ones.” With a slow ominous beat, the band constructs a nightmarish trip which has the feel of their pre-Sexplosion release, Confessions of the Knife.
They utilize the same sample voice found on the 1997 track, “Daisy Chain 4 Satan,” on the predictable “Dope Freak.” The album ends with a remix of “Room on the Moon,” which, again, is dub-heavy and uninspiring. It’s not so much that Spooky Tricks is a bad recording, but rather it lacks continuity as they grapple with finding a sound and sticking with it. Furthermore, the band shows little or no growth artistically as they rely on predictable formats. Don’t get me wrong, I love this band, but this recording left me dazed and confused.