The Hentchmen "Form Follows Function"

It’s been a dozen years since The Hentchmen embarked on the perilous roads of garage rock. Overshadowed since day one by everything and anything half as good, they’ve managed to build a catalogue spanning a handful of full-lengths and nearly two dozen singles. Longtime darlings of the great Norton Records, Form Follows Function is their debut on Times Beach. And a solid debut it is.

The trio is simply and raucously comprised of Tim Purrier on guitar, Mike Latulippe on the scaled-down skins, and John Szymanski on the Farfisa organ. Hailing out of Hamtramck, MI, they’ve got the long years as a unit and their state’s proud rock and roll history on their side. Your folks (if they are hip) will like ‘em because of the obvious early Beatles, ? And The Mysterians connection. If you yourself are young and hip, then you will liken them to the opening track of The Crumb’s 1995 10” Get All Tangled Up (Far Out Records) and the Farfisa lent there by Billy Oswald of the One-eyed Kings.

Everything on this record kicks ass with weathered, Cuban-heeled, side elastic Beatle boots. The album is devoid of filler (thank you Hentchmen) and the infectiously catchy riffs and sing-a-long lyrics go from the zero mark to the closing 38th minute. Easy winners are “Love” (for which a video is included), the great ode to silver screen car chases “Cars on Film” (with hot femme backups), and the sweet babe-leave-with-me ballad “Anywhere.” Their cover of Zappa’s “Why Don’t You Do Me Right?” blurs the line between psychedelic and rollaway surf.

This is immersed in the fine tradition of garage punk rock Detroit begat and is expertly handled by these three men. I’ll go on record saying that the Farfisa is almost a fourth member, its high-pitched crackle presiding and harmonizing the electric echo of the guitar and the firm presence of the drums. This album can handle the double duty of early morning “now I’m going to tackle the day” jam as well as a party disc for drinking with good friends.