The members of Messer Chups are Russian born, but one might not guess that from their music. Messer Chups puts a unique spin on American surfer rock, blending loose and bright guitar, bass, and drums with retro pop culture samples. Last releasing Spooky Hook and The Voice of Zombierella, Messer Chups continue their spooky reign just in time for Halloween with Taste The Blood of Guitaracula, a fun but overly-repetitive surf rock album.
Glancing over the tracklisting for Taste The Blood of Guitaracula, an album title that is a play on 1970’s Taste The Blood of Dracula in itself, the album looks to have a varied yet cohesive theme to it. With song names like “Hula Drag-U-La”, “Chupacabra Vs. Batman”, and “Girls In Orbit”, the album looks like it should be a lot of fun, and it is! Groovy bass licks, swooning plucky strings, creative melodies, bursting horns, and bright combustible drums comprise the album, yet one major problem looms. No matter how fun and enjoyable the tracks are on their own, a major downside to the album is that, together, the tracks blend heavily and in the end all sound quite samey. “Magneto” is faster, “House of Exorcism” is sleepier, but the vibe remains generally the same.
What’s generally unique about Messer Chups among their brand of surf rock, is the overlay of a pop horror theme. The members of Messer Chups even have horror inspired nicknames; Oleg Guitarcula, Zombierella, and Doctor Boris. Despite this, there are only a few times on Taste The Blood of Guitaracula where the band provide a truly “spooky” sound. “The Hound of The Baskervilles” comes close with a Courage the Cowardly Dog-like sample, but often Messer Chups come off as more happy than horrific, which isn’t really a bad thing at all. Even rarer in Messer Chups’ music are vocals. Really the only track on the album with complete vocals is “Big Foo”, where raspy, charismatic singing add an ironic character to the song. These vocals don’t mix perfectly with Messer Chups’ sunny surf rock, but leave me wanting more nonetheless.
Taste The Blood of Guitaracula is a sixteen song album that feels like it could get the same content out in about six songs. Sure, the album is fun, highly danceable, and works perfectly as background music, but if you’re actively listening or trying to pick out a single song as a favorite, the albums novelty is bound to fade. Messer Chups are surely filled to the brim with character.