REVIEWS OF

THE TUNNEL OF LOVE

 

RAVES 'N JABS
FROM TUNNEL
OF LOVE REVIEWS!

(CLICK ON SITE NAMES FOR FULL REVIEWS.)



"A N - E T E R N I T Y - O F - B L O O D"


RAZORCAKE
(www.razorcake.org)
(The Lord Kveldulfr)

"I do believe that this is the most awesomest singer/songwriter record that I've heard in a month of Sundays. Imagine Tom Waits meets Rob Zombie with a dose of German expressionist painting thrown in for flavor. Visceral and highly nutritious."



CRACKED
(www.monochrom.at/cracked)
(Georg Cracked)

"the overall atmosphere of this strange collection of weird songs is dark and cynical but also funny and campy and filled with the sex and blood fumes of the late Sixties. It takes spirited tastes to really be able to like this, and you guessed it, it is right up my alley."

"You may think the devil only works in the movies, but it is not at all true. He has his preachers all around. I cannot yet decide if Jeff Wagner is praying to or against him..."

"A great, late night record, when your eyes are too blurry to watch any more seventies horror movies, your mind is too numb from the alcohol and all the thoughts you have already spent, and you need something to get the party going in midtempo and to let those dreams and visions seep right in. And please remember, deep in their hearts almost everybody is a helpless romantic, even at 2 am in the morning in Tunnel of Love."



THE MICK
(mickmercer.com)
(Mick Mercer)

"Capriciously melodic, making room for odd noises and humanising them, making them an exhilarating part of the whole, Jeff Wagner sounds like a man who just snapped up all outstanding mortgages in Twin Peaks and intends on cracking the whip."

"'Super-Naturalism'...highlights how Jeff was doing things, as he still is, which others are now catching on to. This isn't a million miles different to Flipron, just as the 'Shiny Claws' song is similar to what some Steampunk artists are now rejoicing over."

"While previous albums required the listener to be up for the bracing collisions this is also a record with a softer embrace, with a subtle downplaying of the macabre jollity, which creates an enhanced atmosphere. I think this is the record which makes it easier for people to see why his work is special, as well as indicating how vibrant some of the melodies are."



LUNA CAFE
(www.lunakafe.com)

(Anna Stjarnell)

"Jeff Wagner's previous album was pretty interesting, Cramps-style psychobilly gone completely weird. The follow-up is equally bent..."A Fright" is rough-hewn psychedelia with its head on fire, running around trying to put itself out, but failing..."The Wildest Creature" has a deliciously cheap sound and Wagner sounds like a real feral man. This won't appeal to all, but quite a few will adore it."



THE ONE TRUE DEAD ANGEL
(theonetruedeadangel.blogspot.com)

(RKF)

"like lo-fi new wave (and at times, no wave) channeling the spirit of dead fifties girl groups and exotica records, accented by noise-rock and frequent bursts of squalling guitar....The eighteen (!) songs here unfold with deceptive simplicity and are stuffed with catchy hooks, rude noises, wildly varied instrumentation, and a perverse sensibility that defies easy explication. David Lynch could build a film around the sleazy story lines lurking in these songs, and it still wouldn't be anywhere near as surreal and unnerving as the soundtrack. This is probably TOL's best work, too, no small feat given the quality of previous releases. You need to hear this, trust me."



WLUR 91.5 FM
(wlurradio.blogspot.com)

(Jeremy)

"As if the cover art and album title wouldn't indicate as such, this is really creepy music. But in a good way."



JEFF'S MOM

"great!!! The thing I like is that each new cut is brand new and unexpected in its music and lyrics and feel, so I find myself anticipating what could come next."



"F U R Y - T O W N"


THE ONE TRUE DEAD ANGEL
(WWW.MONOTREAM.COM/DEAD)

(RKF)

"Probably the easiest way to get a grasp on Tunnel of Love's eccentric sound is to imagine the Cramps, only obsessed with trashy pop and obscure film soundtracks rather than rockabilly and exotica. "

"The seventeen tracks here are mostly pop tunes and soundtrack bits driven by insanely cheap keyboards and an overdriven guitar sound that shouldn't work in this context, but does marvelously nevertheless; the songs are catchy and well-crafted"

"while the skillful application of diseased sounds and teeth-grinding guitar dissonance are fun to hear, it's the unabashed catchy pop at the core of these songs that make the album worthy of attention."



KFJC On-Line Reviews
(http://spidey.kfjc.org)

(Ophelia Necro)

"The music is a mixture of sleazy, gothic burlesque, dark circus sideshow and slinky carnival tent tunes. Fans of Nick Cave or Tom Waits might be drawn to this as I was."



THE MICK
(WWW.MICKMERCER.COM)
(MICK MERCER, ex-PANACHE, MELODY MAKER, RECORD MIRROR, etc.)
"'Good And Lit' groans and sounds like a bike trying to rev in Hades, or a Birthday Party Link Wray tribute down a well. 'The Blackness' swims through choreographed cuteness as anything similar to Del Shannon's 'Runaway' ought, if it were re-recorded by gnomes, and 'Amphibians' is a post-Twin Peaks guitar-infested wildlife soundtrack. Ideas abound throughout this record and 'Good Advice' is a confident sinister cackle"

"It's a ballpark where zombies and clowns are waiting on the perimeter, where you're all alone and regretting going out so late. It's a world of skewed noir so tilted at an angle everything is in danger of dropping over the edge, and that's why it's captivating."



LUNA KAFE
(WWW.LUNAKAFE.COM)

(Anna Maria Stjarnell)

"resplendent with hollered vocals, seasick tempos and cheap liqueur. (probably)"

""Good Advice" is a persuasive song, with a creepy undertow. Wagner has cast himself as sly seducer and devil's advocate at once. Musically it proves that psychobilly isn't dead, it just smells very odd."

""Bordello Song" lives up to its title, and is sleazy as hell, with saloon piano and a perverted vocal. Wagner's a twisted kind of genius."



KZSU ZOOKEEPER ONLINE
(kzsulive.stanford.edu)

(Murray)

"Noisy zombie rock...Minimal and yet lush with fascinating sonic textures."

"Beefheart when he did lounge... before he met Zappa."



ERBA DELLA STREGA
(WWW.ERBADELLASTREGA.IT)

(Mr. Moonlight)

(my best Italian translation)

"the third album of his "skewed musical design" that, personally, I see as a nice soundtrack for a horror psychobilly-gangster story from the '40s: try to think of "Once Upon a Time in America" by Sergio Leone, but in place of J. Woods and R. de Niro are two zombies"

"an album to listen to in pin stripes with a sawed-off shotgun ready."



KDHX Etiquette of Violence BLOG
(www.etiquetteofviolence.net)
(Etiquette of Violence)

"[Drop Dead Delilah] is a little too much for me. other than the overacting, i like it."




"U N D E R N E A T H - A R E - P H A N T O M S"


SMASHING MAG
JAPANESE WEB ZINE
(Michael Lara)

"Wagner further develops his status of a denizen of music that is optimally explored and savored in darkness to give us a 33 minute plus ride that descends, ascends, twists and loops throughout these 15 connecting rooms..."

"Just as the doors open into the unknown on a haunted house ride, Wagner beckons us in his "Entrance," replete with a creaking gate opening as organs ominously pump away. With the doors shutting behind, you enter a Tim Burton/ David Lynch flavored music landscape. The internal to external flowing chug of "Your Throat" opens with a cymbal announcing your arrival to his house as it jaunts and careens down a path he's provided. Mark my words that Lux Interior and Poison Ivy are surely dying to collaborate with Wagner on this one..."



STILLBORN EXTREME MUSIC ZINE
ITALIAN WEB ZINE
(Polimeno Paride)

[translated from Italian]

"Not even a year since his first full length, "2AM in the Tunnel of Love", San Francisco genius Jeff Wagner returns with a new exciting album.. "Underneath are Phantoms" is the perfect successor to "2AM in the Tunnel of Love". Warm, romantic, dark, seductive, evil."

"The '40s film Noir atmosphere is always present, like a soundtrack to the films of that age re-interpreted by the Jesus & Mary Chain! ..and I have said all."



KZSU ZOOKEEPER ONLINE (HTTP://ZOOKEEPER.STANFORD.EDU)
(Your Imaginary Friend)

"Throw the Cramps, Phantom Limbs, Make Up, Ennio Morricone, Nick Cave and The Birthday Party in to a jigger and shake violently, pour over the cubed frozen blood of Phaedra..."

" Searing guitars, evil organ, chunky Barry Adamson bass, and desperate soulful male vocs. This is great."



MICK MERCER
UK PUNK/GOTH JOURNALIST (PANACHE, MELODY MAKER, RECORD MIRROR, etc.) (MICKMERCER.COM)

"...here the songs grow sharper, the stories get richer, and if you thought it was all Cramps on a ghost train, it has so much more to it than that. (Mind you, that sounds pretty tantalising!)"

"The Wagner works are impressively bloodshot, but also quite vicious, and after the opening preamble of dark noise the howling trashabilly of "Your Throat" sees how the vocals have become more refined and the keyboards more effectively cooled, and it's simply a slinky, seductive monster."



DEAD ANGEL(WWW.MONOTREAM.COM/DEAD)
(RKF)

"Fractured pop experiments that would not be out of place next to Cheer-Accident, perhaps. In fact, I think a triple-bill of Cheer-Ax, Flaming Fire, and Tunnel of Love would be sufficient to completely befuddle any unprepared mainstream audience. "

"Good, weird stuff, sixteen songs worth (to be fair, some songs are just short introductions or instrumental passages, but even those are pretty interesting); catchy and listenable while still being wildly unpredictable and surprisingly fresh."



SPLENDID (WWW.SPENDIDZINE.COM)
(Tyson Lynn)

"Like an evil circus clown who'd just as soon molest you as entertain you, Jeff Wagner writes songs that make only the barest effort to hide their nefarious intentions...It's a deeply weird and unsettling affair."

"...perfect for the rarefied segment of the music-buying public that enjoys Rob Zombie and the Raveonettes in equal measures."



COLD
POLISH WEB ZINE
(Maniak)

[Warning! this is my sad attempt at translating Polish!]

"It is quite the potato crossing Tom Waits, Jon Spencer, Birthday Party, Hank Williams, The Cramps and Elvis. That seems like such an inviting juxtaposition, but the Tunnel of Love is by no means as affecting as the above-mentioned artists."

"In total, it is all stunning, but you are not too hot to return to these sounds..."



"2 A M - I N - T H E - T U N N E L - O F - L O V E"


KZSU ZOOKEEPER ONLINE (HTTP://ZOOKEEPER.STANFORD.EDU)
(Mandy Khoshnevisan)

"Buzzy metallic rock/pop combination of nightmarish 60s beach music and carnival sounds...The album title's a pretty apt conjurer of what this stuff sounds like. The B-Movie of music; urgent, melodramatic, pseudoscientific, ultimately tongue-in-cheek. "

"'Torch (part II)' [is] like an Evil Prom song. Devilishly doo-wop-y."

"Weeeeird, but inexplicably cool. "



SPLENDID (WWW.SPENDIDZINE.COM)
(Garrett Splain)

"San Francisco's Tunnel of Love is one man, Jeff Wagner, who specializes in campy, theatrical music -- a mixture of goth, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and evil carnival music, coated with a heavy gloss of B-movie fetishism."

"If you think 2 AM sounds like a one-dimensional outing, you're wrong; there's a surprising amount of detail and variety in these songs. "Midnight (at the Beach)", for example, is littered with trashy, dissonant no-wave guitar lines -- it wouldn't be out of place on a Skin Graft release. "Torch (Pt. II)" is a bizarre take on '60s girl-groups such as the Shirelles, but the sugary-sweet melodies are replaced by more sinister-sounding vocals and heavily distorted keyboards."

"A trio of instrumentals add a more abstract sort of spookiness. The most impressive of these, "Russia", focuses on interlocking pipe organ and guitar figures, augmented by percussive samples of unknown origin. It is very well-layered, and achieves some compellingly weird textures as a result."



DEAD ANGEL(WWW.MONOTREAM.COM/DEAD)
(RKF)

"This is eccentric, mysterious, soundtrack music for sleazy musicals shot on a shoestring budget and full of penetrating truths about stuff beneath the radar."

"Odd-sounding but compelling, eccentric but built on catchy hooks and melodies and possessed of a singer / narrator of distinctive character."

"Interesting ideas about the shape of sound and a fondness for repetition are good things."



JMM (JOHN MICHAEL MCCARTHY)
DIRECTOR/WRITER/PRODUCER ("SUPERSTARLET A.D.", "TEENAGE TUPELO", "THE SORE LOSERS", ETC.)

"It's really stark glam, really cool."



MICK MERCER
UK PUNK/GOTH JOURNALIST (e.g., PANACHE, MELODY MAKER, RECORD MIRROR, etc.) MICKMERCER.COM

"Capable of blending in to any scene with his tricky noir tableaux, he scoots about from Edward Hopper primetime to Mars Attack, from 1950's B Movie kitsch through 60's juvenile trickery, and on through the decades until he arrives with a freshly microwaved all-purpose timebomb. You'll be impressed."

"'Hall Of Mirrors' is a delightful, short instrumental, after which 'Torch (Part II)' sees 'Happy Days' evoked, in a warped punky spree; wonderfully slinky, just a little bit plinky, and it shows how he can be brilliantly inventive by making this a cohesive form, not quirky, which is usually just another term for revolting. These songs shamble about with cruel charisma."

"I can't really compare him to anyone. That in itself should be recommendation enough."



PUNK PLANET
(Sean Moeller)

"Ever heard of rockabilly goth? Sure you haven't. How about punk cabaret? Didn't think so. Tunnel of Love could alleviate those misfortunes."



WWW.PUNKTASTIC.COM
(Ben)

"Hands up who likes 'Monster Mash.' Hands up who likes Nick Cave and his darkly impressive Bad Seeds. You guys will probably love this album, which is the product of one Jeff Wagner's Halloween-stained imagination."

"It's clear that Wagner is not out to be taken seriously but did he really want to stray this closely to parody?"

"It's true that '2AM...' is an impressive attempt to revive the flagging halloweencore genre, but you have to question whether it's enough."



ACTIONMANMAGAZINE.COM
(John Chiaverina)

"No matter what genre Wagner touches on, he seems to adapt it to his own fetish for the campy, the creepy, or the goofy. From the horror-surf of "Midnight (at the Beach)" to the creepy go-go bounce that propels "Invisible Stan", Wagner's genre-excursizes seem to be executed through the eyes of a washed up B-movie actor."

"When it's all said and done, 2 AM in the Tunnel of Love is the musical equivalent of some knick knack you find in your grandma's basement: musty, old, interesting for a second, then useless."


WWW.ERBADELLASTREGA.IT
ITALIAN GOTH ZINE
(Mr. Moonlight)

(this is the best translation I could come up with!)

"For this report is necessary to to be gotten ready psychologically..."

"In this case it is not discussed of it of gothic rock, of it of horrorpunk, of it of batcave, of it of post punk but of suitable music to who possess a weekly subscription with the actual analyst."

"The connections, even if very weak, to the music of the Tunnel of Love (that you draw inspiration from the resonant columns of the film of the horror fifties and sixty) are able to be with the death-rock more ehm.."Avanguardista" and, above all, with the psychobilly more "outside melon"."



COLD
POLISH WEB ZINE
(Maniak)

(warning! my worst translastion attempt ever!)

"Tunnel of Love songs bring together the vocal approach of Tom Waits, old Marc Bolan, amusement park melodies, rigorous, simple electronics a la Soft Cell , the no wave performance provocation of James Chance and Lydia Lunch, sweet melodies from the 60s, heavy rock'n'roll, and gloom and emotive saturation of Australians like the Birthday Party ."

"Unhumble integrity and rough, from song to song changing as in a kaleidoscope, the author writing pretty melodies that reveal propensities for theatrical narrative. Interesting album, even if it takes a heavy toll."



STILLBORN EXTREME MUSIC ZINE
ITALIAN WEB ZINE
(Polimeno Paride)

(again this is the best translation I could come up with!)

"...I see Suicide, Sonic Youth, Air and Alien Sex Fiend.. and various others.. a weird disk, with slow passages, a lot of '60s melodies and atmosphere reminiscent of dark new wave goth.. between organs, bells, samples, the hyper-twisted guitars and the voice of Jeff that is a mix between Tom Waits and Robert Smith..."

"the voice is much too high. however great beautiful debut. we hope that the continuation arrives soon. and listening to this disc we await the future of Jeff.. and even sign with some major label!? we hope!!"



"T H E - T U N N E L - O F - L O V E - e p"


MICK MERCER
UK PUNK/GOTH JOURNALIST (e.g., PANACHE, MELODY MAKER, RECORD MIRROR, etc.) MICKMERCER.COM

"And this is where the nightmares began, with swinging Goth carnival freakery running wild and crazy...The instruments are so big they're almost inside your skull, although the cymbals in "The Fear Song" are at least discreet, out on loan from Nelson Riddle."

"Think lounge music where you wouldn't dare lounge. Even when he sounds more relaxed and droll, as in "The Man With The Magic Pompadour" you'd be stupid to trust him. He's like a conspiratorial ringmaster who'd sell you down the line without a second thought, but he tells a mean story, so you're suckered either way."








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