The Velvet Touch of Los Straitjackets
If you’re one of those people that avoid niche, gimmick bands like the plague (like me…), hold that thought until after you listen to this record. Granted, it’s surf music played by four guys in wrestling masks, and they do offer a cover of the theme from Titanic , “My Heart Will Go On” (which isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been). Once you get past that stuff, you’re left with a damn fine instrumental combo, led by guitar legend Eddie Angel (the Neanderthals, Ronnie Dawson, et al) and featuring some of the most wicked picking you’ll hear this year. From the Jimmie Vaughn-style stomp of “Tempest” to the Neo-Cramps death march of “Rockula,” this is a great record that showcases the Straitjackets state of the art surf/rockabilly sound. One of the best aspects is the clear, dynamic production, which in itself sets the record apart from most of the genre — it almost seems like most surf records are mastered via a fuzzbox on a AM radio. Kudos for this can be laid, one assumes, at the ears of producer Ben Vaughn, who once recorded a record in a car. Fans of everything from Dick Dale and Link Wray to modern swing will find themselves cranking this one up.
Yep Roc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-4821