by Craig Regala
Goddamn these recs… On Alive, sound great, very natural, clear representations of the instruments playing music, rather than the studio. This is perhaps the appropriate version of garage rock to compare to the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs herk’n’jerk, or The Epoxies zany new wave via weirdo punk. Healthy amount of fuzzed-out keyboard smog populates mid-tempo grooves. More relaxed Devo, or early Brian Eno as Nuggets-style garage action, these guys could play with the White Stripes/Raconteurs or anyone name-checked above and any kind of non-brain dead audience could have a great time. There’re vocal lines that wouldn’t be out of place on a Zombies or Flaming Lips record, synth-boom that could wander out of a Residents disc, Tiki hut cha-cha moves by way of Neu, and tons of cool hip-swivel r&b moves absorbed and rolled out with referencing anything specific. And the Cars. And Trio, don’t forget Trio. The cover looks like they stole it from Budgie, WTF?
WAY back in the crack of the ’80s, there was a guy named Peter Zarimba who was in a band named the Fleshtones. When they were getting strictly tagged as “garage rock” of a specific “Louie, Louie” manner, he stretched the definition of his garage rock to include The Stooges, James Brown, and Suicide’s electro attack as roots. Makes sense huh? This makes sense too. Along those lines, I’ll throw in Howard Wuelflings comment that electro band Cabaret Voltaire’s first single, “Nag, Nag, Nag,” was what mid-’70s “garage” was.
I like this record a bunch. As “arty” as they could’ve made it, generally by drawing attention to component parts, they didn’t. It’s organic as a beat-to-shit denim jacket, and just as comfy. Pick to click: “Worst of me.” Honestly, this’d be a good one all over the airwaves. Maybe a Mungo and Jerry or Silver Apples cover next time? For whom?