The Sonics – This Is The Sonics
The last time Tacoma, WA band The Sonics were recording music, the Beatles were just discovering sitars and LSD. This is a band old enough to have its members shipped off to Vietnam, which saxophonist Rob Lind actually did. The others found jobs or went to college; the actual band was dead by 1968, although the in-name-only touring band would continue until 1980. They became retroactively famous for tracks like “Maintaining My Cool” (which was featured on one of the Nuggets comps) and “The Witch”; their name has been bandied about every time screeching garage rock is making a new name for itself – 1977, 2001, the San Francisco psych-garage scene.
With such continued interest, and a revival in the original band playing live, a new album was perhaps inevitable. Reunion albums are always a chancy thing – for every No Cities To Love there are a thousand Indie Cindys. This Is The Sonics, though, is the real deal – this is an album that sounds as though no time at all has passed in the intervening forty years. Despite the advanced age of the players – they’re all over 70 now – there is no compromise to be found here. The Sonics are playing garage rock the only way they know how – fast, lewd, distorted, and shot through with dirty blues and early, primal rock and roll. The material threatens to feel dated but never does, and the deciding factor is absolutely the volcanic force with which the band plays, a force that should send half the San Fran scene back to their scuzzy garages to regroup.