Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Electras - S/Tdot
artworkI think this is one of those releases that begs the question "why?" This is no better than, and in some cases not as good as, the unfortunate series of vanity label Justice Records reissues on Collectables, a vanity label that surely preyed on high school age bands with encouraging friends and little talent. Most of the playing is very stiff, often almost mechanical. There are a couple of entirely sad vocals, including "Summertime Blues" and "Ya Ya." The liner notes don't credit the vocals, and that's probably a kindness. If these were high schoolers, it might be more forgivable, until you compare to youngster like the Surfaris, the Belairs, and the Goldtones. There's not a single drop of surf here, and I think this is really better left unreleased. The ONLY reason this is out now is that John Kerry is the bassist. If I were him, I'd be very embarrassed at the low quality of the music.
Picks: Guitar Boogie Shuffle, Three Blind Mice, You Can't Sit Down, Greensleeves, Shanghaied, Bulldog, Sleepwalk, Electra, Because They're Young, Torquay, Yellow Jacket

Track by Track Review

Guitar Boogie Shuffle dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

This is one mechanical rendition of the Virtues's "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" with virtually no sense of guitar styling beyond (mostly) hitting the note. Very stiff.

Three Blind Mice dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very geeky piano-driven track, kinda like grade school attempts at early piano roll. It sports the kind of soul only white rich kids could muster - i.e. none.

You Can't Sit Down dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

The terrible mix places the ugly sounding bass up front, but with little low end. Weak guitar and no spirit at all. Rubbish.

Greensleeves dotdot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

Holy cow, some shimmer via vibrato in the lead guitar. It creates the illusion of second-year guitar. Slow and moody, but without depth. It's better than most here.

Shanghaied dotdot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

The Wailers' classic evil jam is just not grodie enough nor spunky enough, nor is it customized enough to make it worth tracking down. Better than most here, but still quite weak.

Bulldog dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' "Bulldog" has less soul than the Challengers' version, and is pretty disjointed sounding. Entirely forgettable.

Sleepwalk dotdotdot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

More about strummin' rhythm than the silky slither of Santo and Johnny, this is nonetheless a pleasant version, though entirely amateurish. In a lineup of fifties "Sleepwalks," it's probably penultimate, but still it's interesting in it's own way.

Electra dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a muddy R&B groover with a piano lead plink way up near number 88. The band is not what you'd mistake for tight, but they were certainly having fun.

Because They're Young dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

This is a diet version of Duane Eddy's syrupy melody, with the syrup removed and vibrato added in it's place. Very, very stiff!

Torquay dot
High School Party Rock (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' great "Torquay" requires reverb to really work correctly. It also requires the delicate touch of a great player to keep it from being a low-end item. Stiff and soulless, with little to make it anything but dismissible.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very crude cover of the Ventures' tune, probably the other side of "Electra." Muddy, definitely garage, maybe even sub-frat. You can smell the oil on the floor.