Jul 13, 2007

Guitarist Susan Yasinski takes umbrage at the notion that her group is “just a cover band” as someone in another instro-surf outfit phrased it. Yasinski indignantly writes in the liner notes “…from the beginning we have played originals mixed in with classic and not-so-classic covers.” She goes on to admit that the writer had a point and maybe the listening audience might perceive them as someone who only recalls past glories. That’s a backhanded way of saying, “we’re so good, you’ll think we recorded this back in 1964.” And to be sure, the Surftones, do play some great, treble-y surf rock with equal reverence for the genre’s roots and contemporary innovation. Kim 13’s Farfisa organ is something with which more surf revivalists should experiment. The background texture that it provides—especially on the excellent “Clam Digger”—gives Yasinski something to play around. But as with anything, there’s going to be the occasional misstep and in this case, it opens the album. The band kicks off with “Blue Hammer 99” featuring a opening riff which sounds like it was stolen outright from Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Do It Clean.” You almost expect Ian McCulloch to grab a mike and disrupt the proceedings. Regardless, this album is an impressive piece of work that is as adventurous as anything from Los Straitjackets or Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet.

 –eric (Acme Brothers)