The Lost Sounds, who are slated to play the 15th Street Tavern on Wednesday, August 6, know better than to embrace a simplistic retro ethos. After all, some sounds are lost for a good reason, and even those worthy of revival often seem less interesting the second time around. (Would you rather hear Charlie Feathers or the Stray Cats?) The key, then, isn't simply to play dress-up while regurgitating an outré style or two, but to use elements from the past to create something that's fresh enough to listen to in the future. The members of this Memphis combo do just that.
The title cut nods toward the Nuggets comps cited as influences on the band's Web site; it's noisy, distorted and as twitchy as a meth head in an adult bookstore. But there's also a healthy supply of unpredictable elements on hand. The tune is introduced by over a minute's worth of Jonathan Kirkscey's mournful cello sawing before cheap yet creepy studio effects are used to transition into a melody that's simultaneously arty and brutal. Kirkscey takes center stage again on "Energy Drink & the Long Walk Home," which mates string power with vintage synths handled by Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout on a track just perfect for galactic surfing. As for the closing "Frozen in Time," it places the sloppily satisfying rhythms of bassist Jonas Garland and drummer Rich Crook at the service of a cut custom-made for a Z-movie soundtrack.
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"Blackcoats/Whitefear," a Columbine-esque tale of psycho youth, calls past musical eras to mind, too, but its energy and oddness prevent it from turning into just another exercise in homage. That's why these Lost Sounds are well worth finding.