Tuesday, 10 May 2011
THE SEEDS - "EVIL HOODOO" (1966/2011)
Four songs into The Seeds eponymous debut album came “Evil Hoodoo”. On a record stuffed with searing garage punk it stands as its highlight, even overshadowing the certified classic “Pushin’ Too Hard”. Clocking in at five minutes, it’s twice as long as the rest of the tracks and like most Seeds songs is simple and repetitive, yet here breathtakingly effective: rib shaking fuzzed up bass takes off like a jet plane with a broken engine; Sky Saxon yodels and babbles a steam of incomprehensible lyrics; disembodied chanting floats in and out of earshot; a tambourine is shaken to an inch of its life; razor sharp guitar lines pierce the skin; an organ and piano take alternate poundings; a harmonica is blown by a force nine gale; and a drum kit is bashed over a fiery cacophony of satanic stirrings.
Recorded on 1st April 1966, that five minutes now – thanks to a new limited edition 10 inch single release by the saints at Big Beat/Ace Records - turns out to be a mere edited version. The full length one is an incredible FOURTEEN minutes. Now, I’m usually the first to champion brevity, and one song the best part of a quarter of an hour is frankly an indulgence best avoided, but not in this case – it simply makes it three times better than the original. It is relentless. Not once does it slow down and pause for breath. Sky never considers saying “I wanna take it down one time”. The band never breaks into a trippy interlude. They chug away at a frantic pace until they’re spent. An exhilarating once in a lifetime ride.
If that wasn’t enough, side two features another couple of unreleased gems in “Satisfy You”, (without the dubbed crowd noises that blighted Raw and Alive), and an alternative take of “Out Of The Question”. Ordinarily I’d be raving about these – they’re both excellent – but fourteen minutes of “Evil Hoodoo” is, and I know I’m prone to exaggeration but you gotta believe me this time, the final word in psychotic garage punk.
“Evil Hoodoo” by The Seeds is released by Big Beat Records.