The Night Shadows were one of the first and longest lived garage bands. They started out in the 50’s hailing from Georgia and first received notoriety when releasing the dirty, perverted garage rock single Garbage Man. The early 60’s were not kind to the Night Shadows as they went through various lineup changes. Other singles followed though, influenced by the British Invasion, utilizing feedback and other current recording techniques. In 1966 a new revived Night Shadows (including Little Phil) released the excellent 60 Second Swinger. It’s similar to the Seed’s efforts from around the same time but the Night Shadow’s cleary had more instrumental prowess and experience behind them.
In 1968 they released their psychedelic masterpiece, Square Root of Two. Square Root of Two has some rerecorded psychedelic interpretations of earlier singles along with then current compositions. Of the 11 songs there are a few throw away tracks such as the Prologue, Hot Dog Man and Turned On. These songs are a little too self indulgent with sped up vocals, lengthy commentary, backward tapes, phased guitars and just plain stupidness. The rest of the lot fairs much better though and even with the above mistakes this album still rates as a prime slice of acid punk.
I Can’t Believe follows the silly intro on side one and is nine and a half minutes of fuzz guitar soloing and howling courtesy of Little Phil. Somehow it all works and the psychedelic versions of Plenty of Trouble, 60 Second Swinger and So Much work well too. Plenty of Trouble sounds like a devil chant with shakers and wicked vocals from Phil. The classic 60 Second Swinger is transformed into a hard, bluesy garage shuffle with some Itchycoo Park-like organ and a fake live intro. Most essential though are Anything But Lies and So Much. Anything But Lies is characterized by distorted, angry vocals and jackhammer riffs while So Much has great stinging acid guitar and is psych punk perfection. The Square Root of Two is a good, forgotten album that should not be missed by garage psych fans.
“So Much (1967 Version)”