Cato Salsa Experience
Fri July 19

The Scandinavian Invasion continues! The Hellacopters and Turbonegro opened the floodgate, The Hives pushed on through, and now, from the land of lutefisk and fjords, to our land of Ludacris and Fords, comes Norway's latest export, the Cato Salsa Experience. What is it about Scandinavia that makes it keep on sounding like Detroit? I'm all for it, but I'm wondering what they're putting in the lefse these days.

On their latest CD, A Good Tip For A Good Time (Emperor Norton), the CSX reveal themselves as a really solid '60s/ '70s-style garage band, informed by what's come since. As frontman Cato Salsa puts it, "As far as the sound goes, you can say that we are into vintage gear, but we don't necessarily want the music to be totally retro... We want to sound new and fresh, but are inspired by various elements from the entire rock 'n' roll history." Perhaps it's this "freshness" that makes the CD sound a bit slick at times, but the live experience should strip that polish away.

About that vintage gear... drums recorded in mono, Orange & Hiwatt amps, and plenty of old analog keyboard sounds like Moog & Hammond.... there's even a theremin on one or two tracks, in a nod to some of the psychedelic tendencies of the garage "movement." Yet the CSX manage to sound much ballsier than your typical Nuggets comp, by borrowing a trick or two from some fellow 'Scandos' here... namely the super-saturated, savagely loud-sounding production, not unlike the Hellacopters' Supershitty to the Max. But, since the music is really tight, it packs a cohesive, danceable punch instead of getting into a fight and sprawling out drunk like the aforementioned Swedes.

"People have compared us to more aggressive music, but we don't put any effort into being aggressive. We are not angry. We just want things to be up-tempo and danceable," says Mr. Salsa (obviously his real name). They've certainly achieved that, and with their fun-loving attitude, I can't imagine but that their live show will have girls shaking their butts and boys bouncing up and down uncontrollably--or at least grinning and sporting Norwegian wood.