Back in the early '90s, record store clerks generally filed Cul de Sac under "alternative." But the recent reissue of 1992's ECIM
proves the New England quartet shared little in common with the punked-out alt-rock acts of the day. Far more eclectic, the nearly all-instrumental Cul De Sac embraced the mid-'70s krautrock of Can and Faust, surf music, hippie-trippy psychedelia, industrial, and the experimental folk of guitar icon John Fahey. With its distantly wailing slide guitar and galloping beat, the spaghetti-western-influenced "Electar" anticipates the windswept Americana of Calexico and Giant Sand, while the pulsating, motorik rush of opener "Death Kit Train" feels like a dream-team collaboration between the Ventures, Stereolab, and Pere Ubu. As for the occasional vocal track, Mission of Burma associate Dredd Foole transforms Tim Buckley's sublime ballad "Song to the Siren" into one surreal listen. Returning ECIM
to circulation, Strange Attractors gives us a fabulous holiday gift.