Music Reviews

Cato Salsa Experience

A Good Trip For a Good Time

Emperor Norton

So this is what’s coming out of Norway these days. From the name to the styling to the opening tumbling drums, guitars, guttural howls, theremin, funked up organ break, etc. – I’m talking about “Listen To Me Daddy’O,” the first track – this band simply howls “Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Ripoff,” and I’ll head off fellow critics at the pass by saying that yes, JSBX themselves are nothing but a ripoff of [insert pet band here]. Is any of that bad? No, not at all. There’s nothing new here, but that doesn’t make it bad. On the contrary, this record is a real scorcher.

For starters, though the Cato Salsa Experience are reminiscent of other acts, they are by no means indistinguishable. “I Can Give You Anything” screams like burning rubber, with a disaffected Camper Van Beethoven-esque vocal delivery and hooting organ. “High Heeled Leather Boots” takes a page from ZZ Top’s scrapbook and fixes the grammar. “So the Circus is Back in Town” is a complete Stooge-a-thon, and a fairly clever yet subtle QuickTime video for this track is included on the CD.

The riffs do seem to get dumber as the album progresses, and near the end – especially the last five tracks – the CSX have become remarkably stony, with chunkier rock figures replacing the outlaw blues funk heard earlier. This is perfect driving music, so pop it in and eat up the miles.

Emperor Norton: • Cato Salsa Experience:

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