Sunday, March 12, 2017

Louie Louie-Friend of a Stranger

Friend of a Stranger is like descending into a sacred miracle cave, however this is not a tourist trap or a Kurt Vonnegut Jr. allusion.  This is a sonic exploration to where it’s always 66 degrees with these cave dwellers of subterranean Philadelphia. After the gathering call of "Come Over," the directness of the Troggs and the Seeds branches off through passages illuminated by girl group gems to the foggy notions of  the Velvet Underground. Within the song “I Want to Dance with You” sense of time recedes as its soaring harmonies climb to forefront and fill the majestic cavern while a swelling organ cast flickering shadows upon the wall. These troglodytes lead you down some unexpected turns and tunnels where roped-off grottoes to the Feminine Complex, the Luv’d Ones and Slumber Party glow out of the darkness.  Their dashing cover of “You Still Want Me,” is one of the best covers of a Kinks song since the Pretenders presented “Stop Your Sobbing” as their first single.  Emily Robb’s voice actually takes on a Belinda Carlisle inflection that works within the context. "Do It (In Your Mind) " and "Miles Around" finds them marching in cadence down the angular steps of some herky-jerky new wave.   They quickly find their footing upon the Danceteria vibe of the early-Talking Heads, the B52-s, Double Fantasy-era Yoko Ono and even Julian Cope.  The watery and floating Asiatic organ of "Will to Find" taps into their underlying hypnotic pull, while transporting visitors to fuzzy new realms.  Hidden gold is found with "What a Man Can Do" which evokes the Bangles before they applied the super high gloss production.  The :35 minute tour fittingly winds up with “Keep on Dancing” which is not the Gentrys song, but an unearthed Ronettes number which manifests their ability to integrate their voices into an unified whole. Explorers of timeless sounds will resurface in exaltation and head out knowing that groundbreaking sounds are still echoing strong.