Hotrods and Beach Parties
Created to accompany the 2006 documentary film of the same name,Tales of the Rat Fink is a collection of brief instrumental tracks by Toronto-based band the Sadies. The subject of the film is Ed “Big Daddy” Rothâ€šÃ„Ã®the hotrod icon, artist and cartoonistâ€šÃ„Ã®who was part of an early sixties novelty surf group, thus the surf influence on the album is not surprising. The tracks have subtle variations, moving from rockabilly to early sixties pop to avant-garde experimentalism, all the while maintaining the surfer sound, reminiscent of the Hawaii Five-O theme song. “The Borderline” conjures up sixties pop classic “Sealed with a Kiss” by Brian Hyland and “The North Star” has maraca playing that would make Davy Jones jealous. Tracks like “The Hi-Jinx” and “The Side Track” keep the album from feeling antiquated by injecting a healthy dose of modernism â€šÃ„Ã®a buzzing fly, a hotrod car roaring to life, incoherent mumblingsâ€šÃ„Ã®before finding their groove with an upbeat, twangy guitar taking the lead. These surprises keep the album from sounding like a vintage LP, adding something new to an otherwise faithful recreation of the sixties sound.
One drawback to the album is that the tracks are short (of the 26 on the album, many hover around the one-minute mark). Just when a track starts to get interesting, it ends. Musical motifs aren’t fully explored, instead hitting hard and fast with a stylistic impression that is gone before being fully digested.
For a beach-themed party, Tales of the Rat Fink is perfect background music. For other listening purposes, it isn’t well-developed enough to stand on its own.