The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics!!! (1965): On Second Thought

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Formed 1963 in Tacoma, Washington, the Sonics were one of the region’s most popular bands of the decade. As are circumstances surrounding many locally acclaimed bands of the era, their music eventually experienced a serious resurrection, granting them a worldwide audience. It’s no lie to say the Sonics are more well known now than they were back then.

Looking like clean-cut college students but sounding like wild animals in heat, the band effectively transmitted such crude and chaotic commotion onto their debut album, Here Are The Sonics!!! (Etiquette Records), which has religiously been crowned the first-ever punk rock platter. Rather than mimic the British musical foliage of the day as the majority of groups were bent on doing, the album trumpets the band’s roots. But Here Are The Sonics!!! is no recycling effort, as the band simply touches base on their influences and shapes them into something dangerously unique.

Frontman Gerry Roslie, who also handles keyboard duties, shrieks, screams and slobbers in a mad and menacing manner comparable to a duel between Little Richard and King Kong. The Parypa brothers, bassist Andy and guitarist Larry, produce tastefully tuneless licks clanging and clattering with liberation. Rob Lind huffs and puffs away on a chain-smoking saxophone, and Bob Bennett punches and pounds the drums into bloody submission.

Powered by enough energy to fuel a jet plane, Here Are The Sonics!!! pummels covers of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” and Berry Gordy Jr.’s “Money” and “Do You Love Me” straight into the ground, while the band’s friends and label owners, the Wailers, are paid homage on “Dirty Robber” that wiggles and jiggles with anxiety.

But the best songs on Here Are The Sonics!!! are the original entries. Loud, heavy, and roaring with rushing rhythms, “Boss Hoss” is a love letter to a car, where the gritty and grungy “The Witch” wails the tale of a wicked lady set on breaking hearts. Keeping the brash and brawny beat going, the Sonics deliver the highs in quadruple doses on “Strychnine” and “Psycho” stomps and explodes with uncontrollable rage.

Chunky, crunchy and clumsy, Here Are The Sonics!!!” benefits from its sloppy and spontaneous approach. Real rock and roll is all about desire, attitude, and enthusiasm, and the Sonics possessed these traits. Embracing their edge and running with it, the band created a distinctive style, that although not commercial, will always live on. To be played at “annoy the neighbors until they call the cops” volume, Here Are The Sonics!!! contains the work of accidental geniuses.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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