“The rock ‘n’ roll rave-ups and in-the-red rawness of the Sir Lord Raven’s new Please Throw Me Back in the Ocean (Happy Parts) tap into a whole ‘nother brand: screw-it-all naughty snotty. “Maybe I’ll jump in the river /Maybe I’ll cut out my liver … I’m tryin’ /I keep on tryin’,” sneers frontman Eric Von Ravenson, once of the Time Flys, on — yeah, you got it — “I Keep on Tryin’.” Recorded by indispensable organ and guitar pinch-hitter Greg Ashley, with producer Jay Bronzini on drums, Please Throw Me slices the cheesiness thickly, with a sense of cut-and-run fun. It’s throwback — hence a cover version of Fats Domino’s “I’m Ready” — but not necessarily throwaway. I like a band unafraid to pay tribute to its true, unlovely loves, but I prefer originals like “Take It or Leave It,” “Spit on Your Grave,” and “PC Action,” the latter two of which intentionally subvert the garage rock, allowing glitter to seep in. ”
While it’s clear this lot has spent groping hours in the garage – fondling vintage amps and Farfisas and cranking The Sonics’ “Shot Down,” Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death and Jean & The Statesiders’ version of The Yardbirds’ “Putty (In Your Hands)” (look ’em up, you won’t be sorry…) – this ain’t no history lesson. Sir Lord Von Raven, the man and his band, throw roots back to the ’60s but what grows from that rich soil thrives with prickly-beautiful greenness, a vibrant child of heady Velvet Underground throwdowns and Hamburg nightclub pop moxie. Co-produced by Greg Ashley (Gris Gris), this debut has an “All The Day and All of the Night” feel that charges into fresh territory. Trust me, the shakin’ start of “I Keep On Tryin'” in no way hints at the fluid rushes waiting just a minute or two later, and that kind of grinning unpredictability infuses this twelve-pack, which stretches to include Davies Brothers observation (“Georgy Boy”), soda shop dynamite (“The Darling of the Juke Box”) and Beatle silly outbursts (“U R Me, I M U”) in the midst of much bopping fare. It all makes you shimmy but it’s the third or fourth go where the quality invention fully reveals itself. Lord Raven’s voice is a sweet ‘n’ sour affair akin to young Reed and Cale with a touch more be-bop-a-lula, and the whole band plays with feverish purpose, knowing just when to drop in some tambourine or spiky guitar, and thus each cut is elevated by degrees, lovely small bits adding up to quality hoppers that truly honor the era of their origin by keeping this music alive.
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