Sun City Girls

Box of Chameleons

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Three CDs from the twisted Arizona trio may seem like too much if one is expecting the long-form concept albums of ethno-lo-fi and post-Beefheart rock: a style that they made their own in the '80s and '90s. Always walking the fine line between brilliance and absurdity, the Sun City Girls delivered yet another installment of chaos and humor that floors, if not for quality, for quantity alone. On "Box of Chameleons," the trio combined short fragmented recordings made in a variety of locations and fidelities through the years. The short bytes may not pan out into the psychedelic jams that the group is best known for, but rather go into even more wildly experimental tangents that may make the trio seem like a Minutemen from another dimension. Never afraid of the absurd, in fact it may be what they do best, the three-CD set is a heavy listen, but is compelling throughout. Noise rock jams, spoken word, and warped improvisations -- all to be expected from this underrated group who take influence from Captain Beefheart, Harry Partch, and early-American primitive folk. Of the hundreds of independent LPs, CDs, and singles they produced, the three-CD collection is a fine introduction into the loopy world of the Sun City Girls. In all its wildness, it may be a good acid test to the unconverted, while to the fan it will be yet another dose of obscurity and diversions cropping up from their vast archive.