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Psychic Powerless Another Man's Sac

Audio CD | Reissued, Remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Psychic....Powerless....Another Man's Sac
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, August 3, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Surfers' Touch and Go debut remains their highlight for many fans, an inspired blast of ugly noise, knowing idiocy, drugged-out insanity and some backhanded surprises. Haynes is still relatively interpretable here; the vocal distortions are only on a few songs, like the opening "Concubine," and what one can't quite understand one can still sense. The band's self-production brings out the mighty rumbles of drummers Coffey and Nervosa and Leary's avant-junkyard guitar work with clarity and a big, thick punch. Leary begins with screwy blues and gentle strums, then cranks up the amps and lets fly. The band also officially recorded their semi-theme song "Butthole Surfer," after which they were accidentally named; the bizarro backing vocals and sudden sped-up shifts at the end are just part of the oddities on display. "Negro Observer" is one of the most straightforward, calmest songs of the bunch, and even that's saying something, with Haynes going off about the title characters -- described as aliens coming to "count heads in singles bars" -- like a barely stable street crazy, insane laughter and all. When it comes to full-on craziness, though, nothing beats the obscene "Lady Sniff," which sounds like an amped-up blues act fronted by a 100-year-old man, and the hallucinatory "Mexican Caravan," with Haynes raving about "that heroin BROWN!" The nods to rock history are subtle but present, from the Black Sabbath-quoting (specifically "Children of the Grave") opening rhythm of "Dum Dum" to the fried Tex/Mex-ranting of "Gary Floyd," written about the legendary Dicks bandleader. However, the Surfers' crazy blend is completely distinctive, taking punk and the inspiration of their acid-addled Texas forebears to new heights. ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide

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It takes only seconds to realize that Psychic... Powerless took everything one step further in 1985. Hardcore wasn't a genuinely relevant context for the Butthole Surfers' first full-length, nor was noise, experimental improvisation, or any sibling, cousin, or neighbor of rock & roll. Psychic... Powerless just took everything, including a compelling sense of postpunk music as a premise for extreme (and often very funny) drama, and mashed it together under Paul Leary's unshaped guitar. Gibby Haynes's Texas wail perked up with his free-verse associations over the guitar and bass and the roiling, repetitive drums, and the whole thing sounded like brilliance. Lest one think it came from a graduate-school course in postmodernism, it warrants pointing out that the Buttholes were genuinely as mad as their sounds; they ratcheted up the temperature on their experiments and LSD-drenched road shows over the course of their next several albums (Rembrandt Pussyhorse, Hairway to Steven, and Locust Abortion Technician). But Psychic... Powerless remains a towering achievement--or a tunneling achievement, digging under the skin for a fully visceral impact that sticks to the ribs like nothing else from the 1980s' postpunk panoply. --Andrew Bartlett

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Product details

  • Audio CD (August 3, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Latino Bugger Veil
  • ASIN: B00000IL21
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,058 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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on September 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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on January 29, 2017
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on June 20, 2016
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on March 6, 2010
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on December 17, 2014
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on November 25, 2005
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on December 1, 2004
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on December 6, 2013
Format: Vinyl
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