If you name your band after a Big Star tune, then you’d better be able to deliver the goods. Fortunately, El Goodo have done just that, with their third album (and their first in eight years) “By Order of the Moose”. The band, rather pointedly, have turned their backs on 2017 and the last fifty-odd years in fact and have scooped up every “Now That’s What I Call 1966” compilation album available to mankind to prepare themselves for this record. If you ever catch yourself thinking “whatever happened to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich” then look no further. “By Order of the Moose” is filled to the brim with the kind of sounds you’d have heard on pirate radio, fifty years ago. “Retro” doesn’t begin to describe it.
They’re happy to refer to themselves as a “sixties psychedelia revival band” which is quite refreshing as that’s exactly what they are. Alongside the aforementioned DDDBM&T influence, you’ll find nods to The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five and loads of those British Invasion bands that conquered the US in the wake of the Fab Four. When bands look back to the sixties, the standard influences get pulled out for reference…you know, Beatles, Byrds, Kinks, Stones , blah Blah. El Goodo look slightly to the left, which means “By Order of the Moose” sounds strangely fresh in 2017. Especially if you’ve never heard anything by The Coral…
Rest asured that it’s not just pastiche and there’s some lovely song writing here in a variety of moods. “Susan & Bill” is a lush ballad which might even have crept onto “Abbey Road” in place of “Because” in an alternative world. “As You Said Your So Longs” sounds like a lost hit for The Searchers – the guitars ring out nicely and the harmonies are sweet and period-correct. One style that El Goodo seem extraordinarily fond of, is Pseudo Mexican. I’m not even sure that’s a genre, but this band have cornered the market in it here. Many of the tracks here have a jaunty, Hispanic flavour with a twangy guitar motif to embellish them. Why a band hailing from Resolven in Wales has embraced left field Mariachi music to such an extent is a mystery to me. And possibly to the band, too.
If I had to make slightly more contemporary comparisons, then, alongside The Coral, it seems that El Goodo enjoy the music of Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Teenage Fanclub. In fact, the backing vocals on “It Makes Me Wonder” are so redolent of TFC that I can foresee a court case if they’re not careful. There’s also a bit of (whisper it…) BritPop here and there, but given the sixties orientation of that genre, it’s hardly surprising.
El Goodo have made an unapologetically sixties flavoured record. It’s all analogue (if you stick to the vinyl version, which is probably how the band want you to listen to it…) and sounds incredibly authentic. Every twang, drumbeat and vocal line is drenched in reverb and no one came close to suggesting that they stick all the tunes into a computer to fiddle about with the songs. With “By Order of the Moose”, El Goodo have proved that you can make a record that, on paper, is fifty years out of date, but still sounds relevant in 2017. It’s fab gear, kids.