In a perfect world, The Sonics would reign supreme. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest USA, in 1965 this high energy garage rock combo released two amazing LPs, Here Are The Sonics and Boom and, along with labelmates The Wailers, created some of the most frantic, high energy rock and roll of the era. The Sonics, who actually released a new album in 2015 that is every bit as good as their original output, celebrated the fifty year anniversary (!) of these seminal rock and roll records with a late 2015 reissue released through Etiquette Records with the help of Light in The Attic, to mark the occasion.

The Sonics 50 is a three album boxed set. The first two records are presented in their entirety in glorious mono sound, with the albums reissued in near exact replicas of the original vinyl pressings. Both albums are excellent, with Here Are The Sonics being this writer’s favourite (albeit by a very slight margin), containing their classic songs “The Witch”, “Psycho” and “Strychnine” (later covered by both the Cramps and The Fall) next to covers of rock and roll standards such as “Do You Love Me” and Good Golly Miss Molly”. Their second album Boom is no slouch either, containing their proto punk version of “Louie Louie” and a very rollicking version of “Let The Good Times Roll”.

The third album up for offer here is a bonus album containing the rest of the group’s recordings back in 1965, many of which are previously unreleased.. Volume 3 contains two alternate takes of “The Witch”, as well as live versions of “Psycho” and (of course) “The Witch”. The second side of the album has some really interesting material, as the Sonics crank out a bunch of Christmas songs for a Christmas LP that Etiquette released. “Santa Claus” is a reworking of the classic Nuggets song “Farmer John”, the 1964 hit by the Premiers, while “The Village Idiot” seems to be a garage rock redo of “Jingle Bells” gone dramatically wrong.

Apart from the three LPs, the box set, which comes in a nice, heavyweight cardboard sleeve, also contains a quite sizeable poster as well as a very informative thirty-six page LP jacket sized booklet containing a five thousand word essay on the band’s history, unreleased photos and more.. Light In The Attic always do an absolutely wonderful job on their reissues, and this one is no different than their other releases. Well done from top to bottom and highly recommended for those that can find one.

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By Sean Palmerston

Sean Palmerston is a vinyl loving music nerd who also loves NHL hockey, Godzilla movies and hanging out with his kids. A former contributing writer to a number of publications, including Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs and VICE, Sean also runs the all metal webzine Hellbound.ca