by Mike LeSuer (@zebraabraham)
Perhaps the only thing more exciting than the influx of American garage rock releases at the turn of the decade was the immediate reciprocation from like-minded partiers across the globe, most concisely chronicled by the world punk roster of Slovenly Records. Bands like Acid Baby Jesus (Greece), Los Vigilantes (Puerto Rico), and Magnetix (France) championed the sound of the Brooklyn house show in their respective native tongues—or, more commonly, mildly broken and heavily distorted English—despite all geographical barriers.
But in 2017 we take these records for granted, as they’re no longer a dime a dozen. Many of the groups remain, though they’ve evolved to keep up with the ever-mutating zeitgeist presently favoring a less chaotic din. In the twilight of 2017, then, it’s a bit cathartic to stumble across the sophomore release from Italian trio Bee Bee Sea, whose jangling riffs rival the best 2009 had to offer. Shying away from the nonpartisan indie rock of their debut, Sonic Boomerang is the perfect marriage of Smith Westerns’ earworm melodies and Black Lips’ impish charm with just enough of The Beets’ weirdo goof-off behavior to keep things light.
This isn’t to say the Italians are merely ripping a passe American trend—Boomerang picks up where the movement left off, filling out the one-and-a-half minute demos-as-final-cuts perfected by Harlem into meaty five-minute samples and shaving the fifteen-plus tracklist in half. “D.I. Why Why Why” and “I Shouted” form a sturdy rhythmic backbone for the record, while the opening title track sets its blistering pace and “I Shouted II” ends the romp with a level-headed reprise. Mid-album, vocalist Wilson Wilson (no evident relation to Wilson W. Wilson, Jr.) shows his range on the falsetto chorus of “No Fellas” after going full-Juans on the undeniably Beetsian “This Dog is the King of Losers.”
Sonic Boomerang is a mighty leap for Bee Bee Sea and a beacon of hope for the greater garage rock community looking towards 2018. Listening to the album somehow feels nostalgic, even though the period it recalls was less than a decade ago. Yet here’s Boomerang returning a sound, once exported, in its original form like a, well. If only there was an appropriate simile.