What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets
Garbed in Mexican wrestling masks and specializing in surf guitar instrumentals, Los Straitjackets have refused to take themselves seriously since their mid-’90s debut album—at least on one level. In reality, these accomplished and tasteful players have repeatedly shown that it’s possible to invest a nostalgic, seemingly outdated style with a range of moods, from tender intimacy to rowdy exuberance. The bracing What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets is devoted entirely to songs written or co-written by the great Nick Lowe, their recent tourmate and a stellar songsmith since Britain’s pub rock days of the ’70s. Though Lowe’s probably best known for his lyrics, which can be either heartrending or smart-alecky, Los Straitjackets’ snappy versions of “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide” and, of course, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” make a strong case for him as a gifted melodist too. This sparkling set is good fun from first note to last, and hopefully the harbinger of a full-fledged collaboration.