Due to the unfortunate death of drummer Charles Gocher not so long ago, The Sun City Girls are officially no more. But while the brothers Bishop continue to focus on their own projects, fans of the group should be somewhat satisfied by the series of re-issues surfacing. One of a pair of limited, vinyl-only soundtracks recently re-issued by Abduction Records, ?Piasa?Devourer of Men? features eighteen expectedly eclectic tracks intended to accompany an unrealized film of the same title.
Originally released in 1994, ?Piasa?? was meant to be the score for a film by Antonio Pomola based on a myth that entails a giant, airborne lizard-beast terrorizing natives in Midwest America during the early 1800s. Of course, the film was never finished and, as expected, the soundtrack only feels like part of the story. As with most film scores, the album is mainly comprised of short tracks that offer snippets of mood, but in this case they were intended to work in tandem with images that we?ll never see. As such, it?s slightly difficult to judge ?Piasa?? as an album.
Those familiar with the Girls? sound won?t be too surprised with most of the contents of ?Piasa??, which throws together a range of styles and instruments from across the world and freaks them out to the max. One of the album?s early standout tracks, ?At the Base of the Mountain,? melds strummed bass and restrained guitar improvisation on the drums and guitar with deep, undulating, melodic vocals either singing gibberish or another language to an astonishing effect. But the center of the album loses a bit of steam with several tracks of spacious, droning improvised percussion and unrecognizable woodwind instruments. Toward the end of the album, ?17 Mighty Arrows? features some sublime, dissonant acoustic guitar-work courtesy of Rick Bishop, but, alas, clocks in at barely over a minute. Such is the nature of a standalone film score, I suppose.
?Piasa?? is doubtlessly essential for Sun City Girls fanatics who missed out on the original LP and don?t want to pay exorbitant prices on eBay. It may not be the absolute best starting point for newcomers, but it will have to do for now, as much of their most-loved material is still out of print and also goes for sky-high prices on eBay. Hopefully this re-issue is another step toward rectifying that situation. 7/10 -- Franklin Teagle (28 November, 2007)