Jump To The Cellar Rock, The Reptiles
JCR Records, JCR CD 006

From the JCR Records in Switzerland comes a new debut album of an all Swiss band called The Reptiles from Thun, Oberland, where the guys used to play in the town orchestra. In 1996 these four friends got together to play the music they loved, rockabilly. They bought, and even rented, some instruments and found a room to practice. Since they had no background playing rockabilly at all, they just improvised, wrote their own songs, both English and German, and after 7 years of practicing (just kidding) got a chance to record a full length CD at JCR's vintage recording studio in Montreux.

The result is the Reptiles' debut release "Jump To The Cellar Rock", packed with 15 rocking tracks, self-penned by Christoph and Martin, ranging from rebel rockabilly to horror bop and a bit of Teddy Boy rock 'n' roll. Roland plays a steady upright bass in a style that reminds of the early rockabilly revival from the U.K., Christoph is hitting the skins, while both take on the vocals. Martin and Marcel are picking the strings and together they make quite a lot of bopping noise.

The opener is a straight forward, fast paced rockabilly song titled "Sworn To Fun, Loyal To None" with cool guitar licks, followed by the Ted song "Stay With Us". Next is a rebel song with a Luther Perkins rhythm "Rebels Are Here To Stay". The title of the song "Silver Surfer" implies a bit of surf influence, but only a little bit, it's a fabulous rockabilly song with lotsa guitar breaks. "The Wild Ones" reminds of the early years of Restless, and although the title is English, this is a German language song. Since I'm from Holland myself, I have no problems understanding it, and it's one heck of a rocking track! "Motorrad mit Flammenlack", cool...

And there's a lot more rock 'n' roll on this platter, with changing rhythms, lots of variety and well written lyrics like "if you don't like Elvis or Rockabilly, you're a girl just talking silly" (Switzerland Rock). "Screaming Psychedelic Werewolf" is something else too (this is not psycho!), and Roland is thumping away real cool on "Rockabilly Kelly". As one would expect from JCR Studios, the sound is awesome and the boys are obviously having lots of fun. Great debut release!

The Reptiles are:
Christoph Balmer - Drums, Vocals
Roland Stalder - Double Bass, Backing Vocals
Mike Pfister - Guitar
Marcel Kissling - Guitar

Contact information:

JCR Records
Maison Jean 44
1801 Le Mont-Pèlerin

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2003