[26 March 2008]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
Hi-Fi Stereo is an album lost out of time. The ingredients are nice: combining the organ skills of five-time Grammy winner Tim Alexander with Reverend Horton Heat guitarist Jim Heath and a drummer named Todd Soesbe (hence the name Reverend Organdrum). And yet, with all that experience and skill, the best they could come up with is an album of covers, focusing on classic funk and roots rock standards and a few old movie soundtracks. Along the way, they dust off Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues”, the Rat Pack favorite “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, the James Bond theme, and a handful of Booker T. & The MGs cuts. Heath is on record as saying, “Our repertoire is very similar to the repertoire of many groups from the early to middle ‘60s.” That’s precisely why so many of them are forgotten today. Have a glance down Joe Meek’s list of credits and see what percentage of the groups you recognize. The problem here is, while Organdrum has talent beyond its collective years, these covers are too close to the originals for their own good. As such, Hi-Fi Stereo sounds like an audition tape for a wedding band. You bet your ass I’d hire them for mine, but I wouldn’t buy their album at the gig.