Sasquatch Rock

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At the time that this record was released, the very idea of SST records releasing an album of instrumental surf music was bizarre. Nevertheless, if SST was going to release such an album, this was the right one. Lawndale rocks hard throughout this delightful and unpredictable album, uniting styles with effortless glee. Listen to the incredible version of the jazz standard "Take Five," which somehow contains the bridge to Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" -- what kind of twisted individual could imagine that combination? Or having imagined it, made it work in such a seamless and delightful manner? The mix of German oompah band rhythm and Tex-Mex on "Next to the Last Frontier" isn't nearly as odd, since Germans in Texas had a lot to do with the sound of that music, but never have the two influences sounded so distinct and yet so artfully melded before -- at least, when played by a rock band. "March of the Melted Army Men" is more straightforward, a kicking rock song with what is probably the only appearance on a surf album in Greg Ginn's career. The punk rock stalwart turns in a creditable and manic solo that fits in just fine with the orchestrated chaos of the song. Every cut on Sasquatch Rock is a keeper, but there is one standout, the soaring, complex "Instrumental." (Since there are no vocals on the album except for a couple of screams and groans, there is a certain delicate irony here.) "Instrumental" strings together six musical themes ranging from country and soul to jazz and, inevitably, surf music, and tosses in transitions, recaps, and mutations galore to create an amazing medley. Lawndale's output was meager, a mere two albums, but every track they released was splendid and their influence was widely felt. Sasquatch Rock is a must-have for anyone who loves instrumental electric guitar with a surf rock tinge.

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