ANGRY SAMOANS: STP NOT LSD (1988)
1) I Lost (My Mind); 2) Wild Hog Rhyde; 3) Laughing At Me; 4) STP Not LSD; 5) Starring At The Sun; 6) Death Of Beewak; 7) Egyptomania; 8) Attack Of The Mushroom People; 9) Feet On The Ground; 10) Garbage Pit; 11) (I'll Drink To This) Love Song; 12) Lost Highway.
Perhaps Back From Samoa did have a «revolutionary» quality to it. But the Samoan rock critics did not really set out to revolutionize music; their goals were more modest and, at the same time, far more complex — distillation, bottling, and distribution of the quintessential «rock spirit», the Holy Grail of every rock critic. And, much as the punk movement in its original phase claimed the same goals, continuing to move in the «hardcore» direction would, in the end, only displace, if not actually profanate them.
So, instead, the Samoans fell back on their roots — garage proto-punk and irrevent psych-folk of the mid-Sixties. The 1987 EP Yesterday Started Tomorrow introduced the retro styles in earnest, culminating in a Jefferson Airplane cover, and by 1988, it was clear that these guys had totally switched to recreating (with only minor updates) the visions of The Sonics and The Holy Modal Rounders, with a bit of Velvet Underground for good measure.
Nobody really got it, and very few were happy about it. Who needs the Angry Samoans when they are not all that angry any more? Speed is reduced, cussing is cut down, and what about all these acoustic folk songs making fun of backwoods dwellers? What is this, Greenwich Village? Where is anything even vaguely on the level of 'Right Side Of My Mind'?
But let us take a peep at the bright side. STP Not LSD is anything but non-creative. If you like the classic garage aesthetics, there is every reason to enjoy the Samoans' take on it. If people see a reason for the existing of Brian Setzer and Dave Edmunds, and are willing to argue that these guys are not totally expendable even if you have proper access to all the treasure groves of classic rockabilly, then the same case can be argued for the Samoans.
All I know is that STP Not LSD is fun. The band still holds together tighter than a buttplug, the lyrics, if not as obnoxiously obsessive, are on the same demented level, and even if all the riffs are pilfered from old garage classics (which they may or may not be), they're good riffs, and the sources are not always easily identifiable. Plus, there is diversity a-plenty: for instance, Metal Mike employs just about every single nasty, crunchy guitar tone ever recorded in the Sixties logbook and beyond. (My favourite is the introduction to 'Death Of Beewak' — hello, San Francisco!) Switches to acoustic, too, every now and then.
Certainly no amount of consolation is ever going to turn the record into the kind of trailblazing classic that Back From Samoa will be considered for as long as the trails do not become overgrown; but the subgenre of «hardcore punks doing retro shit» is not tremendously large in itself, which means STP Not LSD might deserve a bit of space in your collection, too. Give it a modest thumbs up, and don't be afraid to play it, say, once a year — it's only twenty-three minutes.