'80s California psych-rock group True West reunited in 2006 after a two-decade hiatus and now they're opening for Violent Femmes on the latter's dates at Anaheim House of Blues tonight and Aug. 4 at San Francisco's Fillmore. And, finally, True West have their canon reissued on CD, with the nicely packaged, 21-track Hollywood Holiday Revisited (Atavistic). Prominent TW fans included Prince and Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, the latter of whom produced True West's 1983 three-track demo (included on Revisited).
True West's dual-guitar attack (featuring six-string studs Richard McGrath and Russ Tolman) jangled blissfully, stung caustically, and fluctuated mellifluously. It would be glib to call True West a Left Coast Television, but the two bands do share a predilection for incisive yet expansive guitar leads and upliftingly poignant melodies. Furthermore, “Steps to the Door” and “I'm Not Here” remain some of the most powerful, thrusting specimens of psychedelia to emanate from the evanescent Paisley Underground scene that flourished on the West Coast in the mid-'80s. Another highlight is True West's suitably sinister cover of Pink Floyd's early garage-psych chestnut “Lucifer Sam."
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One should be skeptical of most band reunions, but I have a feeling that True West won't tarnish their glittering, if little-known, legacy. Dig out your finest paisley shirt for this one, man.