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Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, March 16, 2001, Music

The Waistcoats

Stark Raving Mod! (Wildebeest)

Back in the mid-Sixties, there lived a race of cavemen who grew their hair like Brian Jones and learned how to play instruments from Kinks and Yardbirds records. Never mind that their Vox guitars sounded like bees stuck in Coke cans; they developed their caterwauling and evolved to resemble punk rockers, pummeling their instruments with a ferocity that made their British Invasion heroes sound like starchy accountants. None of those lessons are lost on the Waistcoats; this 15-song release has plenty of punchy originals, snarky instrumentals, and even a cover of the Who's "Can't Explain" (points for sheer audacity there). It's all overlaid with a trashy, lo-fi production sound and manages not to succumb to the Farfisa Curse of so many garage outfits, keeping the warbly organ at bay until it's really needed. Snotty vocals and a hyperactive drummer round things out for a sound that their Sixties forebears would have been proud of, if a little frightened too. What was the term back then? Oh yeah: "really gear." (Friday, March 16, Hole in the Wall, 10pm)


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