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Mod, without a touch of irony

20 Explosive Hits
20 Explosive Hits
By The Shambles

Black Cherry Group: 2008

Buy it now

This review first appeared in the June 26, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Any other group recording songs like The Who's "Is it in My Head?" or Elton John's "Harmony" as part of a CD of covers would likely title the album something along the lines of "Lost nuggets" or some such reference to the songs' collective obscurity. But such is the off-center musical taste of the members of San Diego's resident modsters The Shambles that the title "20 Explosive Hits" on their new collection of covers is probably not even ironic.

They do a nice job of capturing the '60s vibe of most of the songs here – the guitars jangle and the vocal harmonies are spot-on. The songs come from the 1950s (Connie Francis!) through the '90s (a cover of Oasis' "She's Electric"), but everything they tackle is filtered through their mod sensibility – there isn't a track here that wouldn't fit comfortably on an Austin Powers soundtrack.

The most intriguing track is the last, a live medley of hits from San Diego bands, taking in Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," The Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain," "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot and The Monroes' "What Do All the People Know?" It's a nice, enthusiastic nod to some of the biggest bands to come out of San Diego.