A parody of both seaside teen flicks and cheezoid '50s horror movies, Psycho Beach Party has a highly appropriate soundtrack album: a cool retro-style background score from Ben Vaughn and seven cuts (most previously released) from a handful of contemporary nuevo-surf bands. Vaughn's soundtrack music sounds fine, and cannily blends late-'50s/early-'60s rock archetypes with the minor-key menace of horror soundtracks, but it also comes off like movie music, which means it's supposed to lurk in the background rather than stand out front. As a result, Vaughn's score is enjoyable without being very compelling by itself. As for the rest of the album, it's no surprise that Los Straitjackets and Man or Astro-Man?, two of the best instrumental bands extant, would serve up the strongest songs here (amusingly, MOAM?'s selection, "Mermaid Love, turns out to be one of their rare performances with vocals), while the Halibuts, the Hillbilly Soul Surfers, and the Fathoms sound strong but not exceptional. Psycho Beach Party is good fun for surf revivalist enthusiasts, but you're probably better off buying an individual album by any of the artists involved than this set, which only offers a taste of what they do well.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming