Los Straitjackets Damas Y Caballeros

Yep Roc Records had an idea to do a synchronised release of the two biggest instrumental surf groups of today. Not only would Los Straitjackets and Laika and the Cosmonauts put out new records on the same day, but they would both be live albums as well. The similarities end there, though, because, musically, these two bands couldn't be farther apart. The Laika CD is a full 75 minutes of filmic, sophisticated instrumental music that mostly defies the label surf. Songs like "The Hypno-Wheel" are more Henry Mancini than Dick Dale, and up-beat, aggressive songs like "Look! No Head!" generally stays outside the usual clichés of this well trodden genre. With the aid of some fantastic organ work, on songs like "Experiment In Terror" and "Circumstantial Evidence," Laika craft a dark and cartoon-ish sound that would be as much at home at a cocktail party as it would be in some twisted film-noir crime classic. Covers of the Get Carter theme and a medley of the Psycho and Vertigo themes are also welcome additions to this CD. The Straitjackets, however, pretty much stick with the script and never stray from their mixture of Champs, Sandy Nelson and Ventures-influenced instro-rock. Now, as a fan of anything connected to masked Mexican wrestling, it kills me to say this, but this album is a huge snooze. Vacant songs like "State Fair" might have got them moving at a teen dance back in 1963, but now it sounds more like a somebody learning how to play guitar from a Mel Bay instructional book than anything else. The songs are as bland and uninspired as a leftover sack lunch, with clunkers like the unappetising "Itchy Chicken" making for one stale shit sandwich. Sorry guys, but the cover of the Titanic theme wasn't that funny the first time, let alone again on this record (Yep Roc)