January 18, 1982 12:00 PM

The Raybeats

If they aren’t the Rolling Stones, any band billing themselves as “America’s Most Popular Combo” had better be plenty good or plenty campy. In their matching high-buttoned electric green or blue suits, the Raybeats are both. Harking back to rock’s adolescence, they revive the growling sax lines, garish guitar twang and tinselly organ accents of the Ventures, Duane Eddy and the Surfaris. Raybeats titles like Big Black Sneakers, B-Gas Rickshaw and Piranha Salad accurately reflect the music’s blow-out spirit. The Raybeats don’t sing and don’t need to. The foursome, from Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa, coalesced in New York’s progressive rock scene after tune-ups with such cult bands as the Contortions and 8 Eyed Spy. Forming the Raybeats was not a musical regression—the nostalgia is only skin-deep, and the campiness is cut with bracing doses of advanced rhythms and dissonances. Tight Turn is typical. It starts with the punch of a cherry bomb and works itself into a delightfully manic lather.

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