Various Artists: Psycho Beach Party


By David Sakowski

It’s 96 degrees in the shade today in Boston, which is the perfect temperature to groove to the soundtrack of Psycho Beach Party (Unforscene Music). Featuring an original score by instrumental hipster Ben Vaughn (who scored big with his twangy score of the TV’s Third Rock From The Sun) Psycho Beach Party is a chock-full of sand-in-your-toes tunes. The disc is bursting with reverb-drenched guitars, cheesy ‘60s organ fills, wipeout inspired drums and even a vocal or two.

The CD opens with the Vaughn penned tune “Main Title”, which bears a striking resemblance to Los Straitjackets’ “Caveman”. The resemblance is not surprising since Los Straitjackets’ drummer L.J. Lester bangs the skins on the soundtrack and is probably the man behind the ominous voice repeating the word “psycho” throughout “Main Title”. While not an essential must-have instrumental CD, Psycho Beach Party does include some excellent tracks from some of the best of the instrumental bunch. Those masked rockers Los Straitjackets contribute the guitar gymnastics of “Tailspin” and “Tempest”, which sounds oddly like ZZ Top’s “Tush” as performed by a psychotic surf band. The ever-wacky Man or Astro-Man perform a rare vocal track, the British post-punk sounding “Mermaid Love”. The Fathoms’ “Overboard” has that spaghetti western feel while The Hillbilly Soul Surfers’ ‘“Cha Wow Wow” and The Halibuts’ “Night Crawler” are both excellent but don’t stray far from the traditional surf sound.

The strong point of the CD is the film’s original score by Ben Vaughn. Fans of his earlier work with The Ben Vaughn Combo or his solo discs will dig songs like “Chicklet Wipes Out”, “Mournful Surfer”, and the wonderfully titled “Romantic Beach Scene”. The disc closes with Vaughn doing vocal duties on the hilarious “PSYCHO End Title” featuring the classic lyrics “There was a crazy beach party that was underway with lots of rockin’ teenagers from the USA.” Vaughn is definitely becoming the mayor of instrumental city and its Hawaiian shirt clad residents will surely appreciate Psycho Beach Party.

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