Unusually Fun as Usual

Supersonic Guitars in 3-D (Yep Roc Records)
Los Straitjackets

By David Lilly

When it comes to thinking `outside the box,' rest assured Los Straitjackets broke out of their box years ago. After several instrumental albums, including a live one, they recorded Sing Along With ..., featuring a different vocalist on each song. They returned to intros with Christmas songs on Tis the Season For. At heart, these guys seem like a musical circus act (or a world-class party band, if you prefer). I say that because throughout their repertoire, you can tell they're smiling and cutting up, or at least provoking the audience to do so, through their instruments. Supersonic Guitars in 3-D continues the tradition of pushing boundaries, excellent musicianship and having fun.

"Squid" starts this party with a vicious guitar sound, like one of the guys is using a flat stone for a pick or feeding the sound through a gravel amplifier. "DiPinto Twist" is an ode to their guitars and excellent for cutting a rug. Cool, too, for showcasing bassist Pete Curry and guitarist Eddie Angel switching instruments. "Time Bomb" showcases drummer Jimmy Lester, who plays like he was born with drum sticks in his hands. It rocks with the best of rock 'n' roll songs and sounds like something out of the AC/DC catalog. "Midnight in Salerno" delves into exotic territory and is that flamenco guitar I hear? Did the music suggest the title to Danny Amis when he wrote it or was it named after the time and place of composition? Mystery adds to the fun. "Tarantula" includes guest Jon Spencer on vocal affects and Theremin. That coupled with the electric-fence guitar sound makes the song a major blast. To close the party, LS does something they do as well as anyone around, which is a soothing, slow dance number, appropriately called "Dreamland." There is one tour de force on this record, but I'll leave you to discover that for yourself.

Some folks will think this record should be longer. I could agree; however, I believe in the glass being half full, so considering that each song is substantial, no real complaints here. Besides, how many albums do you know of where you can say every song is good, great, or excellent and deserves to be there? Band information, CDs, merchandise (including a Mexican wrestling mask waiting just for you) and tour schedule are available at www.straitjackets.com