Sunday, September 19, 2010
Over the last year or two, I've listened to a whole fucking truckload of garage rock. I've discovered this brilliant history of recent rock'n'roll spun by the many side projects of too-little-known dudes like Greg and Jack Oblivian, Mick Collins, Mark Sultan and King Khan. I've cherrypicked from compilations of one-hit garage wonders from the 60s to assemble killer mixtapes packed with great tracks. In all that, I've never lost sight of the forefathers (okay, if I'm being honest, there were others like the Kingsmen and the Wailers and probably a whole host of bands I've never heard of, but none of them released the greatest debut album of all time (as far as I know - nested brackets ahoy!)). Almost everything I love about garage rock can be traced back to the Sonics, who took pop music and remade it in their own raunchy, explosive image. For my money, the Sonics are the greatest, most awesome rock'n'roll band the world has ever seen.
Here Are the Sonics!!! is the quintessential garage rock album. The Sonics’ songs touch on such divine subjects as fast cars, dance steps, and cruel women. The lyrics are wonderfully forgettable and Here Are the Sonics!!! gets by through sheer force of will. No songs could contain this energy. It’s actually best that the songs just give way to the frenzied power of the band.
Finesse wasn’t even remotely the point of the Sonics. They blasted you away with pure rock ‘n’ roll power. Their fuzzy-sounding guitars put a twist on that high energy Little Richard R&B. “The Witch” was the hit single that initially catapulted the Sonics in garage rock lore. Old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll songwriting like this has long since seen its demise. At some point it was simply time to move on, but it’s great to go back and check out when it worked so beautifully. These were a bunch of kids with time on their hands and a dorky conviction to cutting loose with some instruments.