There’s more screamin’ and hollerin’ on “Mony Mony” than on any Number 1 of the last several years, to the point where Tommy James sounds really quite ill – separate “you…make me..feel…so..good…so good…” from its rave-up backing at it could be a man spluttering his last. The ingredients here are nearly all garage rock ones – organ, shouting, chanting, big crude beats, bigger cruder hooks, massive energy, the danger of collapse – but there’s none of the threat or frustration I associate with garage bands*. “Mony Mony” is sweaty, ramshackle, party music – for all the raw throats and volume it never sounds menacing, quite the reverse: it’s eager for you to sing and stomp along. And why not?
*Of course my knowledge of garage rock is a) barely large enough to identify it as a ‘sound’ and b) entirely curated: my impressions of it are based on what its later compilers and champions – the Nuggets people especially – wanted to convey. Lads hanging out together are usually goofy as well as moody or aggressive or cool, and I’m sure there was a lot of goof in garage rock too, as well as all the buzzsaw underground energy.