Personnel: The Professor Mighty Manfred (vocals, harmonica); Flesh Hammer (guitar, keyboards, percussion, background vocals); Dan Eletxro (drums, percussion, background vocals); Buzz Hagstrom (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Rodney Mills.
Recording information: Chase park Transduction.
The Woggles are a band that seems to have stepped straight out of a Nuggets anthology, and they've been that way since 1987, spinning out singles, EPs, and full-length albums that carry on as if the world of rock & roll & pop stopped dead in the mid-'60s when it arrived at garage rock. Not that this is a bad thing, particularly if one is a fan of such fare, but it does seem obvious that bands like the Woggles aren't creating garage rock as much as they are re-creating it in its own image, an increasingly tighter circle that, in the end, is inherently conservative, full of rules, stances, and approaches that, if they vary from the center, break the whole facsimile down. It's the 21st century, and while the garage era in rock is still arguably one of the genre's most refreshing and wonderfully snotty eras, it existed in its original form 50 years ago, an eternity when it comes to pop music. That said, these guys have the form down, and song after song on The Big Beat has the sharp, reckless, propulsive, and pissed-off attitude that made garage rock so much fun in the first place. Songs here like "Don't Think I Can Wait That Long," "Baby I'll Trust You When You're Dead," and "What Kind of a Girl" all steamroll by like a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) coming of the early Who or the early Kinks before either of those bands started to make rock operas and such, and one has to ask, is that a bad thing? It isn't. It's a style frozen well out of its time, though, no different than a contemporary acoustic string band affecting the accents, rough edges, and material of an old-time mountain string band while using digital tuners and sophisticated sound systems, and making sharp videos to disperse on the Internet. It's like Civil War reenactors. They make facsimiles of historical events without making any new history. Ah, but you sure can dance to this stuff, and it's impossible not to want more of it, whatever its authenticity. ~ Steve Leggett