Trash is the new grunge, and every four-piece band worth its automatic garage door opener is being pursued by record labels who only two years ago were asking Moby if he knew any other bald vegans who could write long essays on religious pluralism. Norway weighs in with the Cato Salsa Experience, a group whose sonic touch points tend more toward Jon Spencer and “Nuggets”-era one-hit wonders than The Stooges or The Kinks, who currently top the list of hip influences in Rockville.
As proven on their smart but strictly lo-fi CD, “A Good Tip for a Good Time” — originally released in Europe two years ago and just put out here by Sony with a wink and a nudge — what makes Cato Salsa and his three band mates more than your average talent-show spoilers is their unabashed affection for horns and hand claps as well as a willingness to drag out their theremin if for no other reason than to show that they actually own one. And unlike fellow Scandinavians The Hives, who will probably remain at the top of the retro-trash heap for at least the next 20 minutes, CSX don’t seem to have a plan for world domination. Their songs, built almost entirely on nondescript single-note guitar riffs played fast and with a lot of distortion, aren’t catchy the way The Hives’ tunes are; but they deliver more unfiltered energy, and don’t futz around with meaning for meaning’s sake. The entire lyric to “Time to Freak Out” is contained in the title, not to mention the band’s overall aesthetic philosophy. When the boys wear lipstick, it’s just because “it happens to be lying around.”
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