Ever been struck with nostalgia for a time before you were born?  Possibly for a time that may have been mostly pretty mythical anyway? No, I’m not talking about spicing up things in the boudoir by having a quick game of Guinevere and Sir Lances-a-Lot, I’m talking about The Indestructible Sounds Of the Kneejerk Reactions, an album that’s simultaneously from 2013 and fifty years before that.  So if you’ll just step this way into my time-travelling garage, folks.

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Just slap this fine platter on your turntable, either side upwards, carefully place the needle at the beginning of any track and get ready to frug, like you’ve never frugged before.  Kneejerk Reactions have kindly given us twelve slabs of heavy-handed surf-inflected R&B beat busters for our aural delectation and we should thank them for it.  This is popular music before it got all arty and progressive, just slap on the driving instrumental ‘Volatile’ and just try not to think of switchblades, go-go dancing babes and night-time surfing as that organ and guitar duel.  This is music to soundtrack your next rumble with a zoot-suited crew down on Santa Monica Blvd.  Trust me.

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Launched at us by the cultural trebuchet that is the ever-reliable Dirty Water Records*, whose proud boast of ‘Taking music backwards into tomorrow’ has never quite seemed so apposite as here, The Indestructible Sounds Of the Kneejerk Reactions is as carefully crafted an object as you could wish for.  We get a suitably aged back cover, folds all in place, a wonderfully detailed and hilariously daft band biography in the sleevenotes**, lyrics that are just dumb enough and just clever enough to hit the spot.  Add to this some gentlemen who may, or may not be using their given names – Sir Bald, Nasser ‘Camel Toe’ Bouzida … Hmm.  It’s all very well done and very amusing but, as with all these things, it would just be a pastiche if they really didn’t rock it hard enough.

If only it had been laminated with Clarifoil, like all the best LPs used to be
If only it had been laminated with Clarifoil, like all the best LPs used to be

They do of course.  Just cue up, the brilliantly titled ‘Batgirl, I Love You’, ‘Mover And A Shaker’, ‘Houdini’ and ‘Habenero’, then just make like 1967 never happened.  Well, 1967, 1966 and 1965 for that matter; possibly 1964 too, at a push.  Some of it sounds like a very pissed off Kinks, some of it like the Trashmen, or Dick Dale if he’d been born in Padstow and quite a lot of it sounds like, bands you’re not sure existed or not, or whether Kneejerk Reactions just capture the perfect essence and elements of a time, attitude and sound.  Let’s face it everyone loves ‘Louie Louie’ and rightly so, those chords are the bedrock upon which our entire civilisation rests*^.

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If I was being hyper-critical of The Indestructible Sounds Of the Kneejerk Reactions then I might argue that there’s maybe two tracks which don’t quite hit the standards of the rest, but hey I don’t let it bother me because 2 minutes later a better tune comes along.  Did I mention that the musicianship is superb yet? Especially Nass Bouzida on the organ.  As far as I’m concerned this is music for people who like music, this is music for people who like dancing, this is music for people who like a smile with their music, this is the sort of thing that makes me happy to be here.

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Or at least that’s my kneejerk reaction.

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588 Down.

How I'm currently enjoying this LP
How I’m currently enjoying this LP


*home to 1537-faves MFC Chicken and the Dustaphonics.

**SLEEVENOTES! SLEEVENOTES!! SLEEVENOTES!!! You gotta love sleevenotes.  No, that’s not a figure of speech it’s a commandment.

*^I know this because I done gotten a history degree.  Those chords weren’t anything to do with Richard Berry, they were in fact given to the ancient pharaohs by the spacemen who ruled Egypt as jackal-headed godlings and who bought cats to our planet.

82 thoughts on “Time Travelling Garage

  1. I thought Julie Newmar was the cheekiest Catwoman. Your Lego “Feline Femme Fatale” has her beat by a long shot.

    I love the look of this album. Truly has the feel of some vintage record you’d find in some dusty bin. While probably not my thing, my hat’s off to you once again for something new and unique to my dumb ears.

    1. Thank you and I’m with you on the Julie Newmar thang. I really like Dirty Water Records, very reliable label indeed. They scratch my retro itch perfectly.

  2. I get a weird nostalgia for the 30s and 40s in American music. All the old blues, and then swing and big band! If it weren’t for that shitty depression and that shitty war going on, that could have been the greatest times ever!*

    *musically speaking

    1. Yeah! Isn’t it great?! It’s from the new Halloween series of figures, I’ve only got 4 so far and they’re brilliant. That foxy feline lady is one too.

  3. How did you know?? Amazing. I’ve also been seeking a soundtrack for my next excursion (with a zoot-suited crew, of course) down on Santa Monica Blvd.
    I like your history degree-granting institution!

      1. The records must be incomplete.

        I received a complaint once about our Record Store in London Ontario. They had a strobe light in the window and it was giving people seizures.

      2. Wow. That really wasn’t very well thought out, was it?

        I was impressed to learn that it once had the highest concentration of serial killers in the world.

      3. I didn’t even know that. Honestly I haven’t travelled in that direction of the highway since…probably since seeing Helix in London in 2007. Haven’t even gone in that direction since.

      1. No just the history. I like google things and one day I googled “world’s oldest bridges”. That led to me the Medieval London Bridge, which was actually an inhabited bridge with dozens of shops and homes all over it. So I bought some books and it’s become a bit of a hobby of mine.

        When the Great Fire hit, the bridge stopped it from spreading to Southwark. There were gaps between the buildings, such as a drawbridge section, and this prevented the fire from spreading south. All the buildings on the bridge had to be replaced.

      2. Have you ever been over Mike? London (UK, not the shithole one) is such an incredible city – the historical walking tours (okay, so I’m a history geek!) are just amazing.

      3. When I inevitably win the lottery, I’ll ship you over. Hell, I’ll ship all my Canadian chums over and we’ll have a big history fest. With records too.

      4. Me too. And the urban legend that they thought they were buying Tower Bridge! I’d like to be the guy who wrote the instructions for putting it back together.

        I imagine it’s exactly like Lego sets!

      5. No it was because it was one of the most important crossroads in the world — the Romans laid the ancient roads along trade routes and London Bridge was the only crossing on the Thames.

        It was such a busy bridge (and also grew so narrow with shops on the sides) that it could take an hour to cross from one side to the other.

      6. The tradition of driving on one side of the road? Came from London Bridge. ‘Twas the only way for people to not run madly into each other all the time.

        It was also responsible for the Frost Faires — the Thames would not freeze solid if not for the Bridge blocking much of it.

      7. Dude, you need to read Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle. Seriously. Like, now. Go to your library or book shop and get all three volumes. This is not a want. It is a need.

      8. I just read harry Harrison’s ‘Make Room! Make Room!’, which the film Soylent Green is based on and John Christopher ‘The Death Of Grass’ which was very bleak and very good.

      9. I’m in a bit of a slump. Haven’t finished anything in a while. I used to be quite a reader, I devour(ed) books. Maybe my meds have affected my attention span.

      10. After that I started Kim Stanley Robinson and finished about half of Red Mars. Since then I’ve only been able to finish parts of books.

        Oh I lied…before Kim Stanley, I finished Bob Sawyer’s Neanderthal trilogy…just amazing. Takes place in Canada!

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