The Sonic Chicken 4 are not an easy one to pin down. My first exposure to them was their song on Nasty Product's "Love Killed My Brain" 7inch comp. Even with heavy hitters such as the Fatals, the Mighty Go Go Players and Kung Fu Escalator on it they stole the show with a piece of Velvet Underground and Jesus and the Mary Chain get a touch of Ye'-Ye' accents called "Love Song". The next thing I laid my ears on by 'em was their second single (never have heard the first. It's long gone out of print. Would like to have one in my collection some day) and it was a bit different than what I expected judging off the one song that had become one of my favorite tunes of the last five years. Both "Don't Let Me Down" and "Sonic Night" threw me for a loop because they were highly caffeinated (or maybe under the influence of "hot drugs") maximum R&B spazzouts that could get any ol' bag of bones gyrating and shakin' all loose but trying to keep up tempo-wise might dislocate a joint or two. Then they throw in the suitcase xylophone on the latter's the Fall does some kinda mutant rockabilly wandering lost in the middle of a city where Salvador Dali once declared it's train station the center of the universe (as well as a noted wine region) that the Sonic Chicken 4 call home and you've got a band that rises a mind to take note and enquire what they'll do next.
Hitting right off the bat with Velvet's "I Can't Stand It/Foggy Notion" type chug infected with a twitchy nervous condition called "Sexiest" and a chorus that not only sticks in your head but eventually caramelizes it. It's followed by two trashy numbers wringing wet in maximum R&B, "Stupid n' Crying" which tags back and forth between and a folky jangle with full on "Woo" backing vocals & a rat ta tat tat drumbeat and "Margharita", which takes the Gories recipe and broils it to a crisp with a searing harmonica honk and a smashed up Mod guitar crashes. "Do It All Right" an impetuous collision of American country music, Jaques DuTronc's capriciousness and the Real Kids declaring elation for getting out of the folks house.
"On My Way" wiggles with a twisty duo ragga guitar lines ala the Feelies, a buzzy turnaround part that keeps popping up and bending the tune into a place different than a song like this usally goes, a melodic drone something like the Telescopes and a blast of dirty guitar to hold it all together. "Only Lose" fools you at first thinking it's gonna be some ragged teen jangler then the noise is turned wide open and it sounds like something like the Cheater Slicks kicking the shit out of some brit-pop song.
It's dark and rainy 'round here today but when "Shalalalalove" comes on it's like a summer day. A dance party on the beach, a girl group gone really, really bad and the boys that led 'em down that path and the taste of lemonade and vodka. A tart sweetness with more than a bit of spike. "Girl 66" has a bit of that Chuck Berry when he played hillbilly licks thing going on and hoping the bus across town for a bit of sugar. The bus is missing it's tail pipe so it inspires ol' Chuck to get all the guitars to sound like it. He couldn't quite do it though so he wrote it down, stuck it in a bottle and decades later the Sonic Chicken 4 stumbles across it on a riverbank a million miles away from where it was launched.
"I Had Too Much To Drink (Last Night)" takes another VU formula, feeds it's a steady diet of punk rock and drops of some type of psych-noise brain frying grease. "Creature In The Pictures" flashes back and forth between a My Bloody Valentine track peeled down to just it's meat in the middle of a torrential downpour and a walk through the park on a day when flowers are bloom.
There's been a few times through this record where I've wanted to declare a certain tune "The damn best pop song of the moment" then "The Right Side of A Woman" comes on and I wanna do it again. The right amount of everything they put in their songs all in one package. This album will not be leaving the turntable if not for any other reason than because of that. You hear the songs and find something that catches your ear making ya wanna sing along or turn up loud & jump on the couch, make you rethink the kind of distortion pedal you have and how you use it....You get the picture. Late contender for album of the year but they'll be making my 2007 list.