SoundsXP: The Dustaphonics "Party Girl"
When a press release cites a band's influences as "Bo Diddley, Howlin Wolf, The Sonics and Louisiana Red", you generally know what to expect from the record before it's even got within spitting distance of a CD player. The Dustaphonics, however, are a little different. Firstly there's the cover; rather than skinny, sharply dressed throwbacks clutching vintage guitars, we're treated to a colourful drawing of a load of women dancing with far more vigour than is physically possible whilst in high heels (um, so I'm told). It doesn't quite add up until the play button is pressed and the volume cranked up.
When the surf guitars and samples of opener 'Eat My Dust A Phonics' burst forth you realise this is unlikely to be your routine 60s flashback, although we do get some trademark nifty drumming from garage veteran Bruce Brand. There's plenty of treble and twang but it's not as unrefined as you might expect given their list of heroes, and this is thanks to the work of French producer Healer Selecta who does a great job of adding weight to these songs instead of adhering to the regular format. It's not always successful, on occasion it verges on being a tad too slick. 'Burlesque Queen' (co-written with the late Tura Satana) is the sound of the boring bits on Jools Holland while you're waiting for the one good band of the night to be on.
On the whole, The Dustaphonics are that good band. The blend of soul and garage is similar is style to The Bellrays, and like that band, singer Kay Elizabeth is bestowed with a fine and robust set of pipes. It doesn't harm that the bass generates a similar, muscular foundation to John Entwistle on those early Who 45s either. This is a sound of not inconsiderable brawn. The melting pot of styles keeps the interest levels high through most of the album and the instrumental surf of 'Showman Twang Tiki Gods' crops up at just the right point to cleanse the palate before it's back for more good times rock 'n' soul. 'Party Girl' takes the vintage and gives it a rich, modern twist to ensure that it's not only an album for the revivalists.