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The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets

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Album Review

It's back to basics as everyone's favorite Mexican wrestling mask-wearing, Chuck Taylor-clad, surf and garage instrumental rock band ditches the guest vocals (in English and Spanish), occasional horns (save for the honking sax on one track), and '60s dance moves to concentrate on what it does best. The baker's dozen songs zip by in a half hour, and while there is little that any Los Straitjackets fan hasn't heard before, the quartet chugs through its paces with requisite retro energy, conjuring up the ghosts of the Ventures, Dick Dale, Link Wray, and — name your favorite '60s twangy instrumental combo here — along with writing new wordless classics for its set list. The sound is somewhat rawer and slightly more punk-influenced, especially noticeable on the "Lust for Life" riff powering "Teen Beast." At nearly four minutes, that is the disc's longest track by a wide margin, as most get to the finish line in under three and a handful even make it before the two-minute buzzer. "Sasquatch" injects some patented Who chords before taking off on a boogie train, and "Nocturnal Twist" is more of the same hip-swiveling clean guitar rock the band has trafficked in since its 1995 debut. The thick reverb on "Mercury" could be the shady soundtrack to an old late-'50s black-and-white noir gumshoe flick. A few fuzz lines muss up the finger-snapping vibe on "Blowout!," not to be outdone by "Minority Report"'s guitar that seems like it was recorded underwater, a clever change-of-pace effect that isn't overdone. For the most part, though, these songs would fit just fine on many of the foursome's previous releases, but that doesn't make this any less eye-opening for newbies first getting on board Los Straitjackets' grimy surfboard. Older enthusiastic followers will enjoy the fresh tunes, typically classy delivery, and genre-bending licks, yet moderate fans won't find enough revelatory here to make this release stand out in Los Straitjackets' catalog of similarly rocking fare.


Formed: 1988 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mixing the familiar sounds of Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, and the Ventures, Los Straitjackets create their own version of energetic surf guitar twang, complete with Mexican wrestling masks. Los Straitjackets began in the summer of 1988. Eddie Angel (guitar), L.J. "Jimmy" Lester (drums), and Danny Amis (guitar) formed an instrumental trio called the Straitjackets, which played local Nashville shows throughout the summer. After a six-year hiatus, the Straitjackets reunited, added E. Scott Esbeck on bass,...
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