Everyone's favorite masked instrumentalists seem to have hit their peak (so far) with this 1996 release, their second. The fourteen song selection hits upon nearly every style in the encylopedia of rockin' instrumentals: you've got surf (Pacifica, Wrong Planet), a spy "movie" theme (Espionage), a western "movie" theme (Lonely Apache), tributes to the Ventures and Shadows (cleverly titled Venturing Out and Lurking in the Shadows), southern fried R & B influenced excursions (Swampfire, Brains and Eggs), Middle-Eastern and Oriental detours (Casbah, Tsunami), some exotic sounding minor key darkness (Nightmare in Monte Cristo) and some just plain no-brainer,three-chord bashing (Cavalcade, Outta Gear, Lawnmower). All are written by the various band members with producer Ben Vaughn getting one co-writing credit. The performances are great, the sound contemporary while nodding to tradition, and the atmosphere is contagiously upbeat.
This round-the-world-with-no-vocals trip is quite satisfying and keeps you riveted with the variety and depth of the material. Their debut disc approaches this one in terms of variety and quality, and their live set from 2001 is a barnburning summary of their first three discs with lots of choice covers thrown in, but anyone seeking to start a Los Straitjackets library is encouraged to begin here with their most complete, well-rounded set to date. Viva indeed!

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