The dark specter of the '60s looms large on the Apache Dropout/Three Man Band split 7 inch record. Those with a hankering for psychedelic rock and garage rock will have their hunger well sated by both sides of the 7".
The effects used on the sustained piano that opens "Owsley (In Theory & Practice)" recall the playfulness of late '60s acts that discovered the joy of using the studio as another instrument. Along with the obvious sonic debt to psychedelia, the title of the cut is a nod to the infamous LSD magnate, Owsley Stanley. Stanley was a prolific manufacturer of acid, producing more than 1.25 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967.
"Owsley (In Theory & Practice)" calls to mind "Final Solution" by Cleveland-based proto-punks, Pere Ubu. Like "Final Solution," "Owsley (In Theory & Practice)" makes excellent use of tension and release to give the track a menacing aura; it's the sonic equivalent of an acid trip gone wrong. At times "Owsley (In Theory & Practice)" recalls The Electric Prunes, Amboy Dukes and other '60s bands plucked from obscurity on to one of Rhino's tastefully curated Nuggets box sets.
Like the flip side, "Soul Sucker" carries the 60s sound, but is decidedly more bluesy and carries some of the feedback-drenched guitar freak-outs of The Velvet Underground. "Soul Sucker" is very much in line with the trend of '60s bands playing rock and roll with a more aggressive bent and greater guitar distortion.
It's a trend one can see in The Yardbirds, particularly when Jeff Beck was a member of the group. There are times where the track's rock and roll roots peek through, like a guitar solo that sounds right out of the Chuck Berry playbook. Singer Sonny Blood recalls the vocals of Lux Interior, particularly in Blood's enunciation of lyrics. His slurred syllables give the track a slightly psych tinge, though the track is more akin to The Seeds or The Sonics than the Standells.
A major problem for acts with a retro sound is blending their influences into something new, but Three Man Band and Apache Dropout are well on their way. They have a strong grasp of stylistic tropes of their influences and a knack for writing music, that while perhaps not the most innovative, is well-crafted and worthy of a least a few spins.
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