Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Sonics - 8

I just discovered this EP on You Tube (thanks John!) today and don't own it, but this apparently is the latest release from the reconstituted Sonics - singer Gerry, guitarist Larry (who also produced this), sax-man Rob, along with bassist/singer Freddy and drummer Ricky, also joined here by Larry's brother Andy on the studio cuts (though Freddy is singing). This sounds as potent and vicious as their latest full length, This is the Sonics, and has several live takes, as well as new studio cuts.

While the lyrics are fairly silly to "Cheap Shades" (no relation to ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses", though thematically the same), Gerry is raw'n'fierce, the rhythms are poundin' and Larry & Rob fill out with power chords'n'licks. The riff-rocker "Bad Attitude" (not the DMZ song) follows, with Freddy sellin' the lead vocals and Larry givin' some wild leads and interesting progressions. Ricky lays down the mid-tempo beat for "Don't Back Down" (not the Tom Petty song!) and Larry adds some sparsely huge'n'menacing chords over it and "Vampire Kiss" is a minor key, swingin', groover that, oddly, reminds me of some Rick Derringer solo work - which I dig! More great'n'clever lead playing from Larry here!

These studio cuts are all quite cool, but then we get several live tracks that are absolutely ferocious! A smokin' "Cinderella" (where Rob adds a harp solo), a wild'n'toxic "Strychnine" (two solos from Larry and chant-alongs from the audience!), a surprising and quite cool live version of the not-so-common semi-ballad "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" and a fine piece of mania in the classic "Psycho" where it sounds like the entire crowd is singing along with Gerry!

I think that's all that's supposed to be on the vinyl release (hence the title, I suppose), but apparently there's also a version with the boss "Boss Hoss" (great sax!) and another surprise with "The Hustler" (another somewhat uncommon number that the Chesterfield Kings did a fab version of on their first LP),

Yeah, the newer songs aren't quite the same as their 60's material, but they are all still solid rockin' numbers and the energy and power that these cats put behind it all makes these releases well worthwhile! Love the live stuff, especially!