Athens, Georgia garage rockers The Woggles have been recording and performing their brand of energetic, electrifying rock and roll for thirty years. Tally Ho! is the band’s first full-length record since 2013, and their fourth for Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records. On their latest effort, “The Professor” Mighty Manfred and company deliver a baker’s dozen rollicking, rowdy numbers that embrace the sound and feel of the most visceral pioneering garage rock acts of the 1960s.
Tally Ho! opens with “Luminol Test”, an appropriately fiery number that has the band shot out of a cannon from the outset, the lyrics calling out deceitful individuals who try to get away with dubious behavior. The song is smartly kept to under three minutes as are the three tracks that follow. In addition to a solid solo, the record’s first single, “What You Think We Are”, provides a sharp, mean-sounding lead guitar line that manages to sound at once new and familiar. The Woggles keep their foot firmly on the accelerator throughout most of the record’s first half, letting up only slightly on “Morituri Te Salutant”, the only song on side A to surpass the three-minute mark.
On Tally Ho!’s second half, the Woggles show their love of ‘60s pop culture, first on “Mothra Hai”, a song inspired by the Japanese monster movie Mothra, then again on “Be Seeing You”, the record’s finale which cleverly doubles as a tribute to the seminal surreal British TV series The Prisoner. The other standouts on side B of Tally Ho! are found in a trifecta of sorts that kicks off with “Pitch a Fit”, the record’s punkiest moment, followed by “Waiting for the Rain”, the album’s strong second single, and lastly “Tally Ho!”, the groovy, upbeat title track.
Tally Ho! is an undeniably fun record. The Woggles’ dynamic retro sound is immediately infectious, and because the band’s lyrics and music are firmly rooted in the past, the album’s escapist aspect will easily be appreciated by any listener looking to tune out the stress of modern day life. Thanks in part to the success of bands like The White Stripes, garage rock has been given a second life in the 21st century. The Woggles’ Tally Ho! is an excellent example of how the genre still has a lot to offer.