The Count Five

Psychotic Reaction

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AllMusic Review by

If it were not for Lester Bangs' hilarious and fanciful essay "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," which sent generations of impressionable young hipsters-in-training to their local used-record stores in search of Double Shot DBL-1002, the world would not much recall Count Five's Psychotic Reaction; the average casual garage rock fan would be no more likely to search for this album than an album by Nuggets staples like the Remains. And frankly, despite Bangs' wild-eyed prose in praise of Psychotic Reaction, there would be some justice to that disappearance: this album really isn't all that great! There's the title track, of course, a total Yardbirds' ripoff that turns out to be better than any of that overrated band's patented rave-ups, thanks in huge part to Kenn Ellner's brilliantly bratty strangulated whine of a voice. Then there's the mysterious "Pretty Big Mouth," a swamp rock groove with the most bizarre lyrics on the entire album. And they certainly get major cool points for being hip to the Who in 1966, recording "My Generation" and "Out in the Street" before almost anybody in the U.S. knew who Pete Townshend was; unfortunately, that goodwill is negated by the sheer incompetence of both covers. And really, that's the problem with most of Psychotic Reaction; Count Five were not in any way a particularly talented band outside of Ellner's vocals and, occasionally, John "Mouse" Michalski's gnarly lead guitar. Songs like 'Double Decker Bus" and "They're Gonna Get You" may be garage rock legends, thanks to Lester Bangs, but frankly, you'll find a half-dozen better songs on any of the Pebbles compilations.

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