Dirty Water Records

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SoundsXP: Thee Exciters "Perpetual Happening"

It's been four years since 'Spending Cash, Talking Trash', the last long-player from Southampton combo Thee Exciters, and since then southern England's garage (and with a name like that, they had to be garage, right?) scene has remained in rude health with a veritable banquet of retro rockers to feast upon for music fans of that persuasion. Being less one dimensional than many of their contemporaries is what gives this quartet (drums, bass, guitar, vocals, natch) an advantage, drawing from many facets as oppose to picking a time/band/style and sticking to it rigidly. 'Perpetual Happening' doesn't deviate from rock 'n' roll/garage/punk, but what it does achieve is a diversity that few others choosing a similar path obtain.
 
'Dinosaur Traffic' is pub-rock morphing into punk with gusto, as is the title track which takes in both 70s rock and 60s psych, both come wrapped in stellar guitar. The snotty 'Flower Punk Girl' could be sung by Jilted John's aggressive older brother and the 60s proto-punk of 'Paint Me' begins like a chilled out Monks before a warped solo contorts things into space-rock territory. The psychedelic rock terrain first explored by the 13th Floor Elevators is given a good going over on 'I Can Hear Most Everything' and then Thee Exciters prove they can riff with the best of them on 'Hang Loose', a definite highlight that's part Hendrix, part Cramps.
 
There are several other past heroes you could nod towards here ('Devil's Make Up' is The Kinks doing Screaming Jay Hawkins, and you can pick any number of punk legends to compare to the feral 'Killing You' and 'Broken Rule') but it's not where the sounds originate from that matters, it's how you use them. On 'Perpetual Happening' Thee Exciters beg, borrow and steal, and the diversification (plus the album not outstaying its welcome) make it a record to go back to again and again. Quite simply one of thee best garage bands the UK currently has to offer.
 

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