Los Saicos – Demolicion

Los Saicos - Demolicion

Los Saicos - Demolicion

In Spanish, “saico” apparently means “mosaic”. That said, the Peruvian proto-garage band Los Saicos doesn’t really sound like a mosaic of anything. Instead, it sounds like the band had a single-minded appetite for what (at the time) must have been wild rock music. Of course, what would have been considered unhinged in 1965 sounds pretty tame 45 years later, but if you think about what other music was happening at that time you can imagine that some of the recordings must’ve been outre — especially in the Lima scene of the time. In fact, it appears that their legend will be burnished by a new documentary.

The growling, hoarse “Demolicion” (the title track) gives “Surfin’ Bird” (1963) a run for its money. Even here, the song has a certain quaintness or sweetness to it. The same rough vocals give the otherwise standard “Camisa De Fuerza” an out-of-control edge. Quite a few of the other cuts play down the crazy and opt for a more accessible angle. That’s the case for “Cementerio”, where the gruff stance gets swapped out for a sing-along near-cheeriness. The electric guitars have gone acoustic and the chords alternate with scale runs.

As the disc progresses, you figre out there must be a Lennon-McCartney thing going on, where the competing visions are thrashy garage and early pop psychedelia. On the garage side, “Salvaje” and “El Entierro De Los Gatos” bring the primordial elementalism of youth acting out. Even the harmlessly named “Te Amo” (“I love you”) finds the singer forcefully spitting out the words as though he meant them to mean their exact opposite. Contrasted with these tracks, you’ve got the Byrds-like “Lonely Star” and the energetic, uplifting “Besando A Otra.”

As a document of a time and place in music, the collected recordings of Los Saicos could be an important reminder that there are no boundaries to mark a scene. A few kids grab guitars, approximate what they’re hearing on the radio, add their own idiosyncrasies, and, really, they can do this from anywhere in the world. Whether Los Saicos returned the favor by influencing garage bands after them is impossible to know, but you can tell just by listening that these guys had their fun, all the same.