Every once in a while, a record drops into your lap that's so out of place, so weird, so bizarre, that one barely knows what to make of it. Then a second comes along, and you freak out completely. But we'll start from the top. Shadowy Men give us 22 instrumentals, plus two more oddities (an a cappella "Fortune Telling Chicken," and a track that encourages us to relax). Shadowy Men play, "We're Not A Fucking Surf Band," and they're not. Not on that track, anyway. Half the fun comes not only from the titles, but working out just what each song reminds you of. So imagine, if you can, rolling up the Shadows, the Ventures, the Chantells and Barracudas, throw in some "Tequila," and the soundtrack to any '50s movie (say The Wild One) and you find yourself indeed on a shadowy planet in another time entirely.
All I can say is not only was I lured, I was hooked.
Calgary's Huevos Rancheros, meanwhile, take on Top-40 radio and leave it in the dust, conjuring up an album, Endsville, which veers between Morrissey's idea of rockabilly madness, and the Stooges' sense of subtlety. Disregarding the Shadowy's efforts, "Drive Thru At Molly's Reach" is the best surf's up instrumental since "Pipeline"; "Gut Bomb" ditto. "Bar-B-Cutie…" what is this? The ultimate, ultimate beach parties, any they both come from Canada? I hope they're out on eight-track.