The members of the Sadies must really hate music reviewers. Their soundtrack to the film Tales of the Rat Fink, a largely animated documentary about car customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, is the second time this year they’ve dropped a sprawling album packed with short, quickly segueing bursts of surf rock and country western and go-go music. This soundtrack crams twenty-six tracks into less than thirty-two minutes; do the math on about how long each song is. And since they all blend together and sound similar after a while, cherry-picking some to discuss in a review is nearly impossible.
So let’s focus on prevailing trends. The biggest one on Rat Fink is a brand of gothic surf rock Dick Dale could buy into. Examples include opener “The 3-B,” “The Westminster” and closer “The Double Wide.” A second recurring sound is infinitely revved-up country and western. “The Times Change” is the type of music I imagine cross-country truckers on speed use in order to stay awake. “The Mohawk” brings to mind images of go-go dancers writhing around poles in a dimly lit bar. And “The Pyramid” and “The Solar Culture” sound like accompaniment music for a spooky carnival funhouse.
Unlike on In Concert Vol. 1, the band’s double live album that was released in August and featured contributions from Neko Case, Jon Spencer, Jon Langford of the Mekons and Garth Hudson from the Band, the Sadies go it alone here. And they go completely instrumental. The only words on the album come from clips from the film, which play over “The Corktown” and “The Black Sheep.” The musicians perform these instrumentals very well – there were plenty of them on the live album – but some tracks, like “The Crocodile,” scream out for vocals. I’m betting that a lot of these tracks are studio extras that never got past their skeletal forms.
Maybe seeing the film (which I haven’t) might help these songs connect better. As is, the album doesn’t seem essential at all.
Label: http://www.yeproc.com/Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thesadies