This outfit from Muskegon, Michigan formed in late 1964 as The Hitch Hikers, but personnel changes lead to a switch of name to The Aardvarks, picked because it was the first interesting word that appeared in the dictionary (in fact pretty much the first word full stop).
The band’s debut single, a top 40 hit locally, was released on their own Vark label in May 1966 and had been recorded in Sparta, MI at the movie theatre used as a recording studio by Fenton Records, the label also producing and pressing the 45.
‘I’m Higher Than I’m Down’ is a veritable jangling punk thumper with pounding drums that builds in intensity in most pleasing fashion – no guitar or organ solo but a rare appearance for chimes in a garage recording and their brief inclusion in the break is very effective I think. Title notwithstanding, the song wasn’t drug inspired apparently.
‘That’s Your Way’ is another insistent jangler with a slightly more moody feel. The keyboards are more noticeable on this one, there’s a very simple guitar break, and the hint of some banjo picking in the outro.
‘I’m Higher Than I’m Down’
‘That’s Your Way’
Follow-up single ‘I Don’t Believe / I Don’t Need You’ was released on Fenton itself – both sides are enjoyable garage punk, the a-side in particular having a great, attention-grabbing chorus. 1968’s ‘Let’s Move Together’ is an almost frat-like raver with some neat guitar; the flip is harmony pop-psych with the emphasis very much on the pop side of things.
Reissues: both sides are on the excellent Scream Loud!!! The Fenton Story; you can also find the a-side on Pebbles Volume 11 (vinyl) and Sixties Archive Volume 7, the flip on Sixties Rebellion Volume 6.
- I’m Higher Than I’m Down / That’s Your Way (Vark, 1966)
- I Don’t Believe / I Don’t Need You (Fenton, 1966)
- Let’s Move Together / Cherrie, Can’t You Tell (Forte / Talpa, 1967 / 1968)