In 1965, in the dirge of cold-war decay, a band fermented and formed in Washington, a band that was unlike any other short lived swinging sixties outfit, a band whose very essence was to shock, destroy and deconstruct. This band was not the Stooges, Blue Cheer, the Velvet Underground, the Godz, and nor was it the Fugs. The band was the Sonics, and their style was as raw as a freshly scraped kneecap.
Though they featured on the legendary Nuggets compilation, the Sonics were by no means just another footnote on the page of garage rock and proto-punk music, they were much more than that; a band whose existence was based around shocking unsuspecting crowds, unpolished blues, seedy saxophones, and drinking just about as much booze as they could handle, sometimes Strychnine too.
Here Come The Sonics is just about as important a debut album as anybody could expect there to be, having as much impact as the Stooges first release did for 70’s punk, The Sonics set in motion a chain of events that led to the formation Iggy Pop’s band, as well as countless others, being able to count a young Lou Reed, amongst others, as a fan.
Playing a primal cocktail of 12 bar blues, Little Richard style, with home schooled instrumentation, (some of which is almost shockingly basic), and some of the rawest production ever committed to vinyl. The Sonics had no apparent boundaries on taste and decency, and as such, anything went. Songs about alcohol and drug abuse feature on the album, in the guise of Psycho and the now classic, Strychnine. Most of the songs are about women of some sort or other, as was to be expected, yet The Sonics still manage to add their own unique and unforgettable twinge to proceedings, by conjuring up the ideas of love affairs with witches (the aforementioned Nuggets featured, Witch), crude metaphors for fellatio in Walkin’ The Dog, and seedy stalker visions in Night Time is the Right Time.
The Sonics just about manage to hit all the buttons in their seminal debut album, with stark consistency and shockingly accurate aim. Some of the tracks sound so primal to this date that recording artists have attempted to try and emulate the bleeding speaker sound, to no avail. Though less have attempted to emulate lead singer Gerry Roslie’s loud, lewd and sexually charged shrieking vocals.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the Sonics debut album is how full of tunes it is that would go on to be standard Rock repertoire. Money (yes, Money – that’s what I want, in all it’s rawest bluesy form), Do You Love Me, a song that sounds more like a demand than a question, Roll Over Beethoven, the sleazy ode to having ones’ belly tickled’, Have Love Will Travel – a song presumably about a mid-60’s booty call, and finally the enigmatically blistering closer Good Golly Miss Molly.
The Sonics may not written all of these tunes, but they made them their own in a way that still pertains through to this day, songs eluding as pop music with raucous undertones played to full volume and shouted at the listener, forcing them to listen. The Sonics legacy has long since been cemented in popular culture, and not before time too, almost every band owes them a huge nod due to their unrestrained and restless style, an attitude that is still held in the hearts of bands today.