SHADOWY MEN ON A SHADOWY PLANET: Sport Fishin': The Lure Of The Bait, The Luck Of The Hook

"We're Not A Fucking Surf Band," the Shadowy Men declare with the sixteenth track of this 24-cut monster, a chunk of abrasive funk that would have done nicely as between-set sounds for a 1978 Mars/DNA show. Even though they're responsible for the Kids In The Hall theme song, these Canadians don't make instrumental music-as-filler. With production by Steve Albini (the perfect match, as there's no vocal to bury), Sport Fishin' owes as much to Link Wray, Gene Pitney (whose "Mecca" is covered) and perhaps the Meat Puppets as it does to Dick Dale. Endlessly jaunty tempos and wiry, vibrato-laden guitar might be the first thing you notice, but most of the diverse songs also have sharp hooks (no pun intended) and purposeful textures that build into satisfying displays of craft and cunning, instrumentally as well as compositionally. Sure, there are a few songs that, despite all the disclaimers, land squarely in Big Wednesday territory. But rather than simply making music with movie soundtrack potential, Shadowy Men make the actual movies. Like theater on the radio, they leave lots of room for the listener's own imagination to play.

- Jason Cohen