Hard to believe, but being America's leading purveyors of hod-rodded vintage-style instrumental rock isn't the most lucrative career one might choose, so the boys in los Straitjackets are always eager to pick up the right kind of side gig, which is where Encyclopedia of Sound comes in. The CD is a collection of 22 short selections in a variety of classic styles -- early instrumental rock, '60s garage rock, blues, country, Tex Mex, and jazz -- which the band wrote and recorded specifically to shop around to television and film producers looking for short bits of incidental music. As a result, most of these pieces sound just a bit generic (that's part of the idea), and 17 out of 22 clock in at under two minutes; los Straitjackets fans looking for a solid chunk of fresh listening or beginners wanting to introduce themselves to the group should certainly look elsewhere. But this set certainly shows off the group's versatility, expert chops, and easy mastery of classic styles, and it makes for pleasant enough background listening. If you dig los Straitjackets, Encyclopedia of Sound is a pleasant but hardly an essential purchase, unless you happen to license music for feature films or television shows, in which case "Switchblade Stroll" or "Onion Dip" would sound pretty cool coming out of the car radio while your characters drive down a rain-slick street late at night.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming