Captain Beefheart’s (Don Van Vliet) multi-octave vocal range and bizarre lyrics about nature, for example, often paralleled his teenage bud, Frank Zappa’s off-the-wall rock-based methodologies. With this band’s second release, the spirit of Beefheart’s signature blend of blues-rock, touched with avant and psychedelic shadings enjoys a contemporary uplift, as the musicians do indeed, retain the inherent flavor of his compositions.
Falling in line with the original Magic Band, the musicians fuse the rag-tag, loose groove vibe with driving rockers, brimming with melodic themes amid a few paradigm shifts along the way. Lucas launches the proceedings via his National Steel guitar on "Sure Nuff ‘n’ Yes I Do." Complete with tight-fisted rhythms, punchy horns arrangements, and wily excursions, the unit sports a festive demeanor. On "Dropout Boogie," they meld a straight-four pulse with fuzz-toned guitar lines and a 1960s type soul slant, then recoil the proceedings into lyrically-rich blues-rock segments.
The ensemble renders a brief spin on Frank Zappa’s "Willie The Pimp," piece originally heard on his 1969 classic Hot Rats album, highlighted by Beefheart’s thinly recorded vocals, where he sounds like he’s singing through a telephone. Moreover, they finalize the gala with a down-home blues piece "China Pig (bonus track)," featuring guest vocalist Robyn Hitchcock.
While Beefheart called it quits to pursue his painting career back in the 1980s, this group keenly revitalizes his musicality. Overall, they triumphantly stylize his aura with razor-sharp precision and an upbeat gait while injecting a distinct persona into the grand schema.