Los Straitjackets’ New Album Is Goofy and Sparkling

The band has refused to take themselves seriously since their mid-’90s debut album.


Los Straitjackets
What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets
Yep Roc

Courtesey of Yep Roc Music Group

Garbed in Mexican wrestling masks and specializing in surf guitar instrumentals, Los Straitjackets have refused to take themselves seriously since their mid-’90s debut album—at least on one level. In reality, these accomplished and tasteful players have repeatedly shown that it’s possible to invest a nostalgic, seemingly outdated style with a range of moods, from tender intimacy to rowdy exuberance. The bracing What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets is devoted entirely to songs written or co-written by the great Nick Lowe, their recent tourmate and a stellar songsmith since Britain’s pub rock days of the ’70s. Though Lowe’s probably best known for his lyrics, which can be either heartrending or smart-alecky, Los Straitjackets’ snappy versions of “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” and, of course, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” make a strong case for him as a gifted melodist too. This sparkling set is good fun from first note to last, and hopefully the harbinger of a full-fledged collaboration.