Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - The Velvet Touch Of Los Straitjacketsdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's about time! The long awaited third CD from Los Straitjackets is finally out. Maybe it's the wait which enlarged the expectations, but this is less powerful than previous work. Some of the prettier tracks are GREAT, but it is a bit of a deviation from the straight and narrow. A fine CD, and an even better band. It's also the first since Pete Curry (the Halibuts) joined on bass.
Picks: Kawanga!, Rockula, Close To Champaign, Hornet's Nest, My Heart Will Go On [love theme from Titanic], Tempest, Tijuana Boots, Sing, Sing, Sing, Tabouli, Sterno, State Fair, All That Glitters

Track by Track Review

Kawanga! dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A re-recording of their Tour de Surf. In their impeccable way, Los Straitjackets use numerous bits of surf history - the "Wipe Out" drum break, touches of "Fun Fun Fun" and more under trier usual twang. When others have done this, particularly the "Wipe Out" bit, it's been lees than effective, even annoying. but here, it's humorous and intriguing. Maybe it's the energy and grins they employ that makes the difference. Hillbilly surf, speedy with maximum drum action and a quirky little melody line. Great track.

Rockula dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grodie "Cave Man" sorta thing with Eddie Angel's ultra garage edge. Whammy intensified fifties rock killer weirdness, with space age Theremin-like sounds, and some blood curdling screams and evil laughs.

Close To Champaign dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow paced somewhat like "University Avenue" is feel, but less fluffy and more fluid. Tasty but restrained.

Hornet's Nest dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Holy cowabunga! Spiffed up with flying double picked guitar and pumped drums. Very fun and right surfy. Much more a quirky riff than a melody, but really effective and satisfying. Powerful and fast.

My Heart Will Go On [love theme from Titanic] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This shimmering track brings grins to the live audiences. It's very pretty with its vibratory throb. Someone had to do the Titanic theme... might as well be Los Straitjackets. Very pretty, and quite a distance from their usual pumped deliveries. The big reverby tom toms are very cool.

Tempest dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tempest" is a fifties riff rock instro... lots of grind, not much melody. Fun, but I forgot it quickly enough.

Tijuana Boots dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bit of old Mexico, a pair of cowboy boots, some hollow twang, and maybe a dab of quirk. Dig the mariachi horns! Daddy-O Grande's tastes are showing through!

Sing, Sing, Sing dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Louis Prima's legendary "Sing, Sing, Sing" spiked, and twanged. Whammy and yur basic rock 'n' roll beat. Not quite as cool as the Flat Duo Jets' version, but cool no doubt.

Tabouli dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a "Suzie Q" beat and tropical flavor, this fine original is gently double picked, creating a sense of refined outback adventure. very exotic and oh-so fun.

Sterno dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ben Vaughn's "Sterno" buzzed into Los Straitjackets' camp... pure rockin' fun. Rich tone and authentic rock 'n' roll.

State Fair dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yup, this is just too fun. The dry surf chop rhythm and the warm melody line come together in a perfectly crafted Danny Amis lead number. Way cool imagery and spunk.

All That Glitters dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"We will rock you..." oh, 'scuse me, I mean "All That Glitters" is a throbbing grodie number with more beat and vibrato than power. It's a solid track with a bit more recording polish than is complimentary this band's material. The almost orchestral anthem quality is fun, but not really my cup of tea. Quite undynamic.