Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
The obvious reference point for the Chico Magnetic Band is Jimi Hendrix. I hesitate to call this music a rip off though as Chico takes the basic template for a Hendrix rocker, and stretches it (like a rubber band, ne?) to absolutely absurd extreme. This is the sound of Jimi on a particulary stressful night, stuffed with 97 tabs of LSD and stuck in the middle of the Ewok village.
Thus it is that the Chico Magnetic Band album might be a little lacking in pure conventional talent, but they more than make up for that in strange, spastic exuberance. Chico himself was French by way of Algeria, and his command of sung English is not particularly enviable. He is a master of the strange reverbed-assulted spoken interlude (think Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9") and occasionally he has a jolly old time shouting in what appears to be tounges. Around him is a swirl of tribal percussion and acid-seared, wah-laced guitar.
I can't say that the songs here are memorable, but they are extremely enjoyable. At least you'll remember the actual SOUND of this band. "Explosion" is an aptly named title as it sounds pretty much such like that, falling into a fiery void of reverberations. From that we get the strange, backwards-churning "Pop Full Hair." Later on "To Where I Belong" goes for a little more of an epic sound, shifting just a touch away from the Hendrix vibe (although not much) to resemble a prog-folk monster. Displaying their hand, the Chico Magnetic Band throws in a cover of Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic," with the band cranked to 12 and Chico himself dazedly stumbling through the lyrics. It's helped along by a completely incomprehensible mix. Closing the album is "Pop Orbite" which resembles "Purple Haze" slowed down and backwards with lots of strange sound effects and demented screaming.
This is not a lost classic by way of skill, but it has more than enough character to deserve a little more recognition than it has. Enter Chico's disturbing world of Hendrix induced shouting, reverb, and distortion. I also have to admit that the feet framed close up on the cover uncomfortable registers on my smell-o-meter.