With only six singles released between 1965 and 1966, and from an apparently remote place such as Lima, Peru, Los Saicos created a raw, wild and visceral sound, the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the garage rock that was coming out of the US North West at the same time. Theirs is the same DNA shared by The Sonics, Rocket From The Tombs, The Cramps and Black Lips. This release compiles all their recordings and tells their amazing story.
The archaeology of rock’n’roll is much like any other form of digging. Significant finds demand the re-addressing of previously considered certainty. Such chicken and egg semantics are entirely dependent on the consumer’s entry point. Fuck the chin stroking.
I’d never heard Los Saicos until a few days ago but had experienced the Wau y Los Arrrghs!!! version of ‘Demolición’. Whilst appreciating the inherent wildness, I never for a minute considered that the original could have been even more deranged. More importantly, this snarling maelstrom of nihilism was cut in Lima when the rest of the world was wetting itself over The Beatles.
I hear direct links to both The Stooges and The Cramps here and several more equally enthralling combos. The latter spawned several generations of individuals who would dig deep to previously (mostly) unheard seams of music and other forms of culture that have since become part of the mainstream fabric. Another strong case of the same kind of happenstance to my mind is that which preceded the much vaunted “punk” explosion of the 70s. If Cleveland’s Rocket From The Tombs had released an album and stayed together instead of fragmenting, who the hell knows how things would have turned out.
However, let’s return to the subject of Los Saicos. The unhinged nature of the song titles is one thing but after you become acclimatised to the inherent strangeness, other aspects become apparent. The rhythms and the way the guitars chime and twang to offset the howling are no mere approximations or interpretation. Chemistry is by far a more important factor in the gestation of sound than proficiency or ability. There’s a point where nature takes over and in kicks the call of the wild. The individuals have no other option than to just go with it. I don’t know about you, but I have an intense dislike of artists that are nothing more than a modular, cookery book approximation of what somebody reckons might be a hipster record collection. This is decidedly not a case of that.
Primitive to the point of primordial, Los Saicos are an important benchmark. Not were. Who ever thought there could be a combo out there in Peru that would make The Sonics sound like Simon and bloody Garfunkel? There is quite possibly some other music out there, someplace, that could well make us re-address this consideration, but until then, cherish this short course of Saicotherapy.