Friday, October 26, 2012

#97: The Sonics - Here Are the Sonics (1965)

The Sonics are one of the first punk/grunge bands, and were part of the first grunge scene in Seattle that later produced a number of acts. They took old rock and roll songs and just made them louder and faster.

The Witch
This is probably the best track to listen to if you're trying to become familiar with what the Sonics were all about. The album is full of really simple chord progressions played very aggressively, but what I really like from this track is the lead vocalist. He reminds me a bit of early 70's rock singers (such as 3 Dog Night) and the music behind him is just plain dirty (in a good way).

Boss Hoss
The Sonics tend to be the best when they're doing originals over covers. The drums are relentless just pounding away, it's like he's got a personal vendetta against his kit. The sax solo is superb, it's such a perfect timbre to add to the grunge. To some the recording quality of this album may take away from the music, it was made on a two track recorder, the levels clips at times, and it's extremely condensed. I think it truly adds to the grunge feel, if it were cleaner - it'd just feel wrong.

Have Love, Will Travel
It's a cover but it's also the best track on the album. It's got both the grunge and yet doesn't lose out on pop sense-abilities. Also it features one of the coolest, yet simplest sax solos I've ever heard. There's not really much to the song and yet it works so incredibly well. While the guitars holds down the music with the fuzz, the drummer holds the beat by trying to beat it to death, the vocalist really shines with really well crafted interjections to the melody.

All in all, it's a really good album. It's both easy to forget and remember that it was recorded in 1965. It's not an album I can see myself going back for any time soon, but it's very well done. Had the album been more originals, I think I may have enjoyed it more. I'll definitely check out another album or two of theirs at some point in the future. Oh, and Gerry Roslie's vocals are pretty boss.

Tomorrow's album: The Kooks' Inside In/Inside Out.

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