December 2003

Davie Allan & the Arrows
Restless in L.A.

To appreciate Davie Allan’s place in guitar history, one has only to hear some of the explosive instrumental soundtracks that he and the Arrows recorded between 1967 and 1969 for such biker flicks as Born Losers, Devil’s Angels, The Glory Stompers, Wild in the Streets, and, of course, The Wild Angels, which helped catapult the Arrows to the top of the instrumental rock heap in 1967. The ride didn’t last long, however, and Allan spent the ’70s playing in Top 40 and oldies bands and working in a radio station. He attempted to re-string the Arrows in ’82, but the band’s full resurrection didn’t come until 1994, with the release of Loud, Loose, and Savage. Five albums hence, Allan and crew have released Restless in L.A., a kick-ass collection of songs that spotlight Allan’s majestically fuzzed-out guitar playing and even feature—of all things—vocals on a couple of tracks. But the true essence of Allan’s powerful melodic style is revealed on the purely instrumental cuts such as “Arrow Highway,” “The Toxic Terror,” “Quiver,” the heavily psychedelic “Demente,” and the harmonically ambitious title track, with its haunting, Ennio Morricone-inspired interlude. Allan slathers on fuzz so heavily that it’s amazing he can focus it to create such clear and dramatic imagery in his songs. But crank up this music and you can almost feel the wind-in-your-hair freedom of a sunset cruise along the California coast, and hear the staccato blast of that stroked Harley that’s speeding you along. Sundazed.

—Art Thompson