The Beatpack – Back, Behind and In Front (State Records)

I don’t think I’ve heard a more accurate recreation of mid-’60s r&b/freakbeat than this four-song EP by recently resurrected U.K. garage gang The Beatpack. It has the songs, the production (raw and echo-y), and the attention to period detail needed to pass it off as a ’66 original. Within the first 30 seconds of opening track “Loopin’ With Lucy” you get the full scope of The Beatpack’s influences: The Pretty Things, Them, The Yardbirds, and The Animals. Like those bands, these guys use obvious source material but play it hard and fast enough to make it interesting, with rave-up sections, wailing harmonicas, flirtations with jazz, and all other sorts of experimentation. “A Fog Is Lifting” is the EP’s best song. So what if its only aspiration is to find out what “Jeff’s Boogie” by The Yardbirds would sound like with Eric Burdon adding vocals? It’s 2:16 of compelling garage rock – as are the other nine minutes of this all too brief EP.