An Instrumental Revival

Los Straitjackets offer a throwback sound, but they’re no novelty act.


Looking back four decades to the golden era of rock and roll instrumentals, when Duane Eddy and the Ventures roamed free,
Los Straitjackets might seem a novelty act, except for one thing: This quartet is very good. While vibrant surf licks highlight “Midnight in Salerno,” there’s plenty of variety, from the smoky “Time Bomb,” suggesting a sleazy nightclub, to “San Diego Shutdown,” a booming drum showcase, to the exotic “Jungleaya” — tiki torches, anyone? Los Straitjackets make even the corniest sounds seem hip.


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  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.