There is a darker atmosphere cast over the latest album from My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. The group, especially producer/programmer Buzz McCoy, is fully embracing the band's roots this time around as the opening track's (“Room on the Moon”) main groove resembles material from their first album, I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits, released over 25 years ago. It has a relentless thump accompanied by Groovie Mann's digitally demonic vocals. The rest of the record keeps the same tone but sounds fresh, a new look for the old beast.
As Mann is credited as director in the liner notes, it only makes sense that the album be described in terms of film. “Hell Kat Klub” and “Neon Diva” feel as though we are following along a detective, looking for a woman that can offer information toward solving a murder. “The Way We Live Now” marks a twist in the narrative as the pace quickens, perhaps a confrontation with the killer leading to deadly results.
If you can imagine Quentin Tarantino hosting a rave, you would definitely expect to hear something like the grandiose “Monti Karlo”, with its swirling synth strings that make the room spin. “Bella Piranha” marks a further descent into this musical underworld, from casino to strip club. The most dynamic McCoy production is on “Diamonde Doll” with keys, guitars, and horn working together to create a whimsical fever dream. The album finishes with “The Strange Ones”, a song that's main theme is a weirdly pleasant soaring noise like crossing an electric drill with an elephant trumpeting.
The undercurrent of Spooky Tricks is disorienting and suspenseful. The album comes on like a Brian de Palma film (one of the good ones from the 80's) and ends somewhere near Bret Easton Ellis's twisted psyche. Unmistakably sinister and certainly exciting, McCoy laid down a fantastic foundation of beats and tones that Mann took and ran with. This is a work of dance noir that is easily the band's strongest effort in over a decade.