I recently received three limited-run singles from State Records…and here’s reviews of all three:
The Embrooks: Nightmare / Helen
I’d lost track of The Embrooks after being unimpressed by their 2000 album, Separations, but after a 10-year hiatus the UK trio are back in business with this new two-song single, and much to my surprise, it smokes. “Nightmare” is a speedy garage rocker, which is part Who/Creation freakbeat, and part high-energy Detroit proto-punk. A new recording of their old song “Helen” is thankfully more of the same hard-hitting stuff, with a slightly poppier feel and some stinging guitar fuzz slathered all over the back half. Everyone in the band sounds like they’re giving it their all on these songs, but Lois Tozer deserves accolades for attacking her drums a bit like a young Keith Moon. Hopefully this single leads to more new material.
Thee Jezebels: Black Book / Cried Over You
UK trio Thee Jezebels’ debut 45 is four minutes of fuzzed up garage rock, the same way it was played fifty years ago, but with a pinky dipped into early punk rock. Both songs are rudimentary, and the recording is pretty lo-fi, but who cares? You can say the same thing about early-Kinks, Link Wray and Billy Childish, and they’re great. The key here is fun, and it sounds like Thee Jezebels are having a blast.
The Missing Souls: Sweet, Sweet Sadie / The Alligator
The Missing Souls are a French quartet with an album and some singles to their name, despite forming only two years ago. Their latest 45 is as perfect a recreation of garden variety mid-’60s garage rock bands as their name is. The A-side cover of The Teardrops’ “Sweet, Sweet, Sadie” has all the fuzz guitars, organs and guitar rave-ups you could possibly want. It’s cool, but I prefer the B-side cover of “The Alligator” by The Us Four. The guitars get a little crazier, the groove is a little stronger, and the cheap-o recording sounds just about right. Oh, and the alligator in question is a type of dance of course! Neither song will make you smarter, but I bet they can kick a party into overdrive.