The Standells

The Hot Ones!/Try It

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One good thing about '60s garage punk music is that when it is done right, it's so fast that you plunge right through it -- in that sense, it's a lot like rockabilly music; and with brevity like that, if a band is any good, there's only so much that even the occasional clinker can mar the listening experience. The two Standells albums represented here total out at barely an hour of listening time for 20 tracks, and nothing lingers, and as it happens, the Standells were generally really good at what they did. In this instance, on The Hot Ones they're applying their energetic and crunchy brand of music-making to songs that can take it (even if, in the case of, say, "Wild Thing," they hardly need it). The music off The Hot Ones holds up a bit better than that from Try It, though their soul-based efforts on the latter don't seem that bad today, especially surrounded as they are by some pretty good psychedelic punk material -- it might not have been what the group was about, or even what they were terribly good at, but you've probably heard lots worse from bands out of this period, and they sound like they're really trying. The good sound on this CD helps, of course, and the presence of "Riot on Sunset Strip" and the title track carry the rest, which -- except for "St. James Infirmary," which should have been abandoned -- doesn't really need that much help.

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