Album no. 49/1001
Prepare your fresh, newborn 1960s eardrums for an explosion of sound, thanks to The Sonics.
I think these guys were probably America’s answer to The Rolling Stones – but like, a less wealthy man’s version. The Sonics also fell into the trap of doing covers – with both this album and their second, Boom, featuring at least a handful of rock and roll standards.
Also, those exclamation marks are part of the album title. I didn’t just add them for fun.
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: I haven’t listened to this particular album before, but I’ve heard Boom. That’s pretty great, so I’m hoping this first one is just as good.
NK: I don’t know anything about The Sonics at all, but there are a few songs here I recognise.
CL: I’m certainly digging the distortion. This would’ve been a crazy aggressive sound back in 1965 – screaming, super lo-fi production and it’s LOUD. BUT. I’m getting really over hearing the same songs done by different people. ‘Walkin the Dog’ was bad enough when the Stones covered it – I don’t really need to hear it again. And really, there’s literally no difference between the two versions. The stupid whistle is even the same!
NK: I like ‘The Witch’, because it sounds really different to everything we’ve heard so far. It’s an original, and it doesn’t sound like just another rock and roll song. It’s got a stompy riff, a super strange breakdown bit in the middle, and a weirdo solo. And they wrote it themselves. Where the hell did that come from? I quite like their version of ‘Have love, will travel’ as well, although not as much as the Black Keys’. ‘Psycho’ is good too, but it sounds quite like ‘Have love, will travel’ and comes immediately after it, so it loses points.
CL: I did like ‘Have Love, Will Travel’ – but that’s not an original either. Another song from Getting Even With Dad makes an appearance as well – ‘Do You Love Me’ – but this version, sadly, isn’t in the movie.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: If you’re a fan of The Black Keys, I reckon you’ll get a kick out of this. At the very least you can see where they pulled some of their influences from.
NK: And garage, and punk. They are playing similar stuff to everyone else (look at all the songs we’ve already heard) but everything is turned right up. The guitar is all muddy and raw, the drums sound like they’ve been recorded in a cupboard, even the vocal gets pretty distorted now and then. Pretty different from what we’ve been hearing.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: It’s pretty clear that these guys had a significant impact on the direction of typical rock music. I think we’re slowly moving towards that real rock swagger – this album just added to that.
NK: Definitely agree. There is always the possibility that whoever recorded all the songs just did a really bad job, but I’m going to assume all that distortion is there on purpose.
Will you be listening again?
CL: If anything, this album proves you can have too much of a good thing. I’d had enough of old mate screaming his guts up after the third song. To be honest, I’d leave this album and give Boom a go instead. It’s way better and has a stack more original tracks.
NK: Probably not, but I am glad I heard this. You can hear a lot of later music in this, for sure.