The Waistcoats

Stark Raving Mod!

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Dutch devotees of the English freakbeat sound of classic Swinging London, the Waistcoats are like a European equivalent to the Fleshtones' studied re-creation of American frat rock from roughly the same period. Devoted to the period sound to the point that the album was recorded in London's famously retro Toe Rag Studios and includes covers of mod-era classics from "I Can't Explain" to Jimmy Page's solo single "She Just Satisfies," Stark Raving Mod! adds absolutely nothing new to the style -- if they had, they would have failed in their mission! -- but it has a freshness that many similar releases are lacking. It sounds as if the group isn't trying too hard to make everything exactly perfect, a failing that occasionally trips up the extremely similar Hives. As a result, one won't mistake their cover of the Hollies' "You Know He Did" for the original, but its noisier and more prominent guitars and snottier vocals actually put the song over a little better than the comparatively polite original did. Stark Raving Mod! can only be recommended to card-carrying garage rock revivalists, but those who fall into that category may well find much to appreciate here.

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