A new album from Roy & the Devil’s Motorcycle – it’s their first in six years. And what a title! “Im Reich der Wilden Tiere (No Milk, No Sugar)”.
“In the Kingdom of Wild Animals” was a television programme for children, explains Markus Stähli, the youngest of the three brothers who make up the band alongside the drummer, Elias Raschle. “It was presented by some stiff colonial type gentleman. He was sitting in his office, talking about wild animals. Why is this a fitting title for the album? Because it’s zeitgeist.“
Eight years ago, Roy & the Devil’s Motorcycle supported post-psychedelic superstars Spiritualized on a European tour. Their guitarist Tony “Doggen” Foster was so impressed by their uncompromising dedication to the power of massed guitars and the mood of the moment that he invited them to his studio in Nottingham for some recording sessions. During the following few years the Roys returned to the “Mouse House” again and again. Always supportive and enthusiastic, Doggen never tried to interfere with their vision. “We played live with the same raw energy we used to play at our shows, guided by emotional chaos and excess.”
The seven songs were mixed by Markus Stähli at home in Basel’s Happy Home Studio. Hardly any overdubs, lots of feedback, and a very real pneumatic drill thrown in for good measure. “Pounding away right in front of the studio in Nottingham, it was part of the ambience. Gives you an idea of the sensibility at play, I guess.” Three guitars, one drum set, three voices. As it says on the album cover: “Not a comfortable sound, nothing landscapish, no distance to a wide stereo spectrum, no ready-made room you can go in. Confrontation – talking to you. No milk no sugar.“
Four songs were written by the band, including their gorgeous evergreen “Learn to Lose“. Driven by a hypnotic xylophone riff from the keyboard, the minimalist “Mo Rice” shows the Roys from a new side. A sign of things to come? Their cover of John Jacobs Niles‘s “Look Down That Lonesome Road” sounds hardly any less spooky than the original but clearly tells the story in a language of their own. The same applies to covers of the Little Anthony hit “Tears on My Pillow” and Janis Joplin’s “Ain’t Got a Worry“. Give thanks to Roy & the Devil’s Motorcycle! They are a daredevil ride into a land of animal power and beautiful mystery.