Music » CD Reviews

The Sammies

The Sammies (MoRisen Records)


The Sammies play roots music -- only not the kind you'd associate with a quartet of self-described country boys from Wadesboro, North Carolina. The band's fiery debut sounds instead like it was grafted from the concrete, mortar, and steel of rock's foundations, all the while defying lazy genre-fication.

"Coming Out Wild," "Turkey Herky Jerky," and "Falling Out" may burn with the same fire as their garage-rock forebears, but the Sammies display an admirable tendency to go left where others turn right. Devoid of White Stripes orthodoxy or Strokes pretension, the Sammies have the brass and chops to combine Ramones rhythms and spiky post-punk ("For John"), Stooges 'tude with Skynyrd jams ("Caretaker"), new-wave synths and Velvet Underground pulses ("She Died"), or Byrds jangle with MC5 freakouts ("Let It Go").

Under the expert tutelage of producer John Agnello, Gymmy Thunderbird (bass) and Donnie Yale (drums) are a lockstep locomotive, Murphy Upshaw displays myriad guitar shades, and velvet-voiced Frank Backgammon is a Sinatra weaned on the British Invasion and Iggy. Most of all, the Sammies buzz with that incandescent energy you could rule the world with, if only you could bottle it; call it youth, call it abandon -- call it rock and roll.

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