With a name like Ragged Barracudas, you could be forgiven for expecting something harsh, raw, jagged and mean to be lurking in this relatively new act’s murky midst. On the strength of this debut 3-track vinyl from the German three-piece however, the cumulative sum of their individual parts is anything but a messy slab of flesh being torn to pieces by a school of flailing, water-borne carnivores.
Kudos to the ‘Cudas for setting their stall out early with the lazy, sun-kissed atmospherics of ‘Living The Dream‘. Desert Sessions, Fatso Jetson, Yawning Man and Eagles of Death Metal would all remain valid as relatively recent points of reference here, but by the delicate guitar stylistics, loosey goosey drums, fuzzy bottom end and acid-guzzling vocals, Ragged Barracudas clearly identify almost exclusively with music from a long bygone era. Indeed, the band cite influences as diverse as Roxy Music, UFO and Poison 13 amongst others as contributing to their melting pot of 70s psychedelic fuzz-rock and I certainly can’t argue with that.
Cream, Blue Cheer, Can and very early ZZ Top are all evoked by the time ‘Cheap Allure‘ cackles across the slowly-spinning wax. If you’re a fan of modern day vintage resurrectionists such as Cherry Choke or Dead Meadow, you’ll most likely be tapping your toes and tinkering with your stack of age-encrusted amplifiers to this one in no time. With its scintillating soloing, warbling basslines and grimey moustache-clipping vocal lines, ‘Cheap Allure‘ is definitely the standout cut of the disc. It’s bizarre semi-ending and rather pointlessly improvised drum solo do lose it at some points however and it’s hard to see what you gain with each repeated listen to Ragged Barracudas‘ cute, but far from unique, brand of simplicity.
Consequently the equally gentle, yet rather snoozingly instrumental, ‘Motor Jam‘ is a bit of a flat way to close proceedings. Yes, it has arguably the most strident riff of the release and yes, the solo-ed sections are cosmic and trippy all right, but there’s just too much disconnect from the drums to the guitars to gather any pace, nor is there a sufficient overall structure to drive the point of the song home. Being loose and easy as a band is a great ability to have, but there are several points on this 7″ where the ‘Cudas fail to become anything more than background music.
Sleepy, hazy, washed out and a little uninspiring, Ragged Barracudas are probably not quite yet in the driving seat of the sound they wish to achieve. If you’re a vinyl-only addict however there may well be some merit in taking a punt on this short debut slice of dreamy psyche-rock. Not quite as sharp as their moniker suggests, Ragged Barracudas are certainly buoyant enough to swim with the fishes, but remain in need of some meatier cuts that you can really get your teeth sunk into.
Scribed by: Pete Green