Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr How is it that, after nearly half a century, the Sonics are able to create an entire album of furiously demented garage rock on par with the mid-‘60s sides that solidified their reputation as one of the most explosive bands in the country? Where the majority of their peers have either long since mellowed or kicked the proverbial bucket, the Sonics continue bashing away with a frenetic energy that never once hints at their collective age. Rather than functioning as a geriatric nostalgia act, the Sonics furiously throw themselves back into the fray with reckless abandon, creating a racket on par with the most vicious of contemporary garage rock acts, the majority of whom could be the three remaining original members’ grandchildren. Most remarkable and immediately apparent when listening to This Is the Sonics is the sheer force of Gerry Roslie’s vocals. While innumerable subsequent vocalists have attempted to ape Roslie’s throaty screams and ferociously unhinged wailing since first waxed, here he proves nothing compares to the original. Fifty years on, Roslie’s voice remains a wickedly commanding presence. Full of manic energy, he wildly vacillates between throat-shredding shrieks and guttural howls, showing little trace of the intervening years. Not to be out done, founding member Larry Parypa’s guitar work shreds and thrashes its way through the album, a blitzkrieg approach that served as a template for punk and its various iterations. Coupled with Rob Lind’s reedy tenor sax and a new rhythm section made up of drummer Dusty Watson and bassist Freddie Dennis, the Sonics prove themselves a lean, mean rock ‘n’ roll machine. By enlisting garage rock uber-producer Jim Diamond, himself a disciple of the sound pioneered by the Sonics and aural shepherd of the new garage rock revival that burst out of the Midwest, the Sonics are able to replicate the sleazy energy and feel of their original recordings. No mere reenactment, the Sonics sound as fresh and vital as ever. “Livin’ In Chaos”, one of the many churning rockers here, finds the band thrashing away as if it were 1965 rather than 2015. Their blistering takes on maximum R&B classics, “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Leaving Here” and “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover” are a far cry from what the Who have been up to lately, managing to maintain their floor-filling power, making it nearly impossible to resist the urge to get up and dance (when was the last time a Who record made you want to do that?). Only on “Save the Planet” do they threaten to fall into the realm of self-parody. Its chorus hook of “We’ve got to save the planet/it’s the only one with beer” is a bit too numb-skulled even for garage rock’s juvenile simplicity to fully land. But with so much else here to enjoy, it’s hard to find too much fault in this ill-advised attempt at, well, who knows what they’re trying to get at. Unlike their peers, the Sonics remain a vital force of energetic rock and roll. Hard-charging and possessing a sound and fury that would be the envy of bands a third their age, This Is The Sonics is a triumphant, declarative statement that only serves to further their reputation as one of the toughest bands on the planet, one responsible for countless bands bursting forth from the garage. Rather than resting on their laurels or taking a well-deserved victory lap around the garage, they elect to blow it up, bursting forth with an unceasing, furious blast of primal rock and roll that easily bests those who’ve been aping the frenetic sound of Tacoma’s wildest sons for years.