The mystery of Los Straitjackets ends with the last knot in their trademark wrestling masks. The music is far from mysterious; since its inception in 1994, the band has spawned a consistently provocative brand of surf-fueled rock-and-roll, capturing a dream mash-up between The Ventures and Dick Dale playing a sweaty, crowded garage party.
Recent releases have seen Los Straitjackets joined by guest vocalists, but with The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets, the quartet has re-engaged its all-instrumental roots for the first time since 2003’s Supersonic Guitars in 3-D. Despite a more punk-inspired approach, the tried-and-true sound remains: tremolo guitar leads sprawled across growling rhythms, beach-blanket drum blasts, and ebb and flow bass licks. “Cal Speed” opens the album like a speeding joy ride down the Pacific Coast Highway, “Minority Report” mines slinky mystery, and “Tubby” embraces a brash, brawny horn melody above the quartet’s frenetic accompaniment.
Unfortunately, the masked men cover only their identities, while their influences spill heedlessly across each track. The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets sounds more like a tribute to the forefathers of the surf-rock genre – soundtracks to ‘50s and ‘60s beach films – rather than a declaration of its own identity.
While undeniably enjoyable, Los Straitjackets succeed as surf rock revivalists on The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets, but fall short as modern rock innovators.
The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets is out now on Yep Roc Records.