Drop the needle on The Rockyts debut album and you’d think the basic operating system for this band is The Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There.” They’ve got that early Beatles’ rock and roll rhythm down. But before long the opening cut “All of the Time” has morphed to include a distinctly American take on the Beatles that’s akin to work from the Beau Brummels and the Cyrkle. Throughout its brief 25 minutes, Come and Dance works this trans-Atlantic beat music seam brilliantly.
Forget the Barracudas 1985 album (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again, with The Rockyts it is 1965 again. The combination of originals and covers are so authentically mid-1960s in style and performance it hard to believe the band are barely old enough to drive. Lead songwriter Jeremy Abboud’s originals really capture the period, without sounding merely derivative. The new songs are like stumbling over some great lost singles from one of your fave artists. The covers are equally inspired, bringing a new ferocity to some past classics. And there’s a cheekiness here too. I love how the band drop a hint of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” into “I Want To Be With You” (a hooky tune that adds Buddy Holly inflections to a driving Beatles rocking beat) or a flash of “Twist and Shout” during “Come On and Dance.” And then there’s “Break My Heart Again,” a should-be hit single to my ear with its great guitar lines and fab harmony vocals.
It’s interesting to compare The Rockyts’ covers to the originals. Their version of the Gestures 1965 minor hit “Run Run Run” adds a bit more garage grit to the performance while their take on The Sonics “Have Love Will Travel” is smoother and more solid. Personally I think the band’s version of the Dave Clark Five’s “Can’t You See She’s Mine” adds a bit more life to the song. The covers of The Knickerbocker’s “Lies” and The Easybeats “She’s So Fine” both capture the dance fun of the tunes. All the covers are from 1965 but the Dave Clark Five single (which charted in 1964). I can’t wait to see what the band make of 1966!