Guadalcanal Diary

Watusi Rodeo

Song Review by

Guadalcanal Diary called their first EP Watusi Rodeo because they thought one side sounded country and the other sounded African. For their debut full-length, the boys (and girl) from Marietta, Georgia, wrote a song called "Watusi Rodeo" that blended the two influences, coming up with one of the great post-R.E.M. jangle pop singles of the '80s in the process. The song is played deceptively fast, with John Poe's double-time drumming driving Rhett Crowe's rubbery, hyper bass and Jeff Wall's twangy, surf-inspired guitar licks. Over it all, Murray Attaway sings the dryly comic lyrics in a nervous rush, throwing out sharp images that hint at American imperialism with a just-kidding giggle that makes them that much more effective. The addition of a brilliant Dick Dale-style guitar solo and good old-fashioned hammer-down ending makes "Watusi Rodeo" a textbook example of how the best American indie bands managed to mix the fresh and the familiar to create some gloriously fizzy pop gems.