- Bryon Harris
Bongo Boy Records - 'Gnarly Wave Volume Two by Various Artists'
The summer isn't over yet. There's still time to pump up the heat and catch some wavy music with Bongo Boy Records 'Gnarly Wave Volume Two by Various Artists.' This album is sure to make a splash anytime of the year with 15 hot tracks of surf music that range from classic surf-rock to pop-surf, swing-surf and much more.
Kicking off the album is Los Surfer Compadres with "Eyes on the Market.” The intro begins as a conversation between a man and a woman (in Spanish) that has the feel of an old-school soap opera. Suddenly, the ambiance shifts with a belly laugh and a drum roll that brings you into a fun surf rock song laced with wavy guitar licks.
Track two is Dylan McGuire’s “Hang 11.” This song begins with some electronic drum rolls. The drum rolls, which occur throughout, serve to take the listener from wave to wave. Melodies in different registers keep things bopping along. Mid-way, the texture is changed with an effective staccato that pops above the mix. The guitar strumming on the upbeat gives "Hang 11" a slight reggae-surf feel for a fun time. Starting with a deep melodic bass line and drum rolls “Subduction” by Susan SurfTone will get you off your feet. The percussion alternates between steady rockin’ beats to rapid 16th note fills that fire away. The melodic content of the song, played by electric guitar, sits well above the mix and is very groovy. Track 4, “Somewhere in Siberia” by The SpyTones changes the mood with a mysterious and suspenseful vibe. You can’t help but imagine this track in a spy movie - James Bond riding the waves. The tempo is a bit slower creating an atmospheric landscape in which various melodies are presented. There is a modal feel, along with some string bending effects, which sounds engaging. Les Fradkin kicks up some classic surf-rock with “Kick Sand.” "Kick Sand" breaks the waves with hard hitting, crisp drums. Short and sweet lead guitar riffs are presented throughout. Mid-way the climate changes with a groovy melodic flow before returning to the gritty, sandy surf-rock. Track 6 is upbeat and fun with TarantinosNYC's song "Shindig." This song offers up melodic surf rock played in different registers and timbres, sometimes in unison and others times in call-and-respond for a surf conversation that has a great free-falling improvised feel between instruments. 9th Wave's "Surfin With Poseidon" yields a rock band sound with synth, drums and bass. 9th Wave showcases a hypnotic surf sound that you can really chill out to. The overall feel has great pulse and sway. The Agent Octopus' "Sun Chasers" is very tuneful. The melodies are notably well-developed and performed very musically. The song possesses an overall positive and sun-filled vibe that you will want to play more than once. Tsunami of Sound is next with "Blue Fonda." This song begins and ends with a cool rain stick texture. After the first rain stick, which comes at you like a wave, the music bursts into a lead guitar lick accompanied by heavier rhythmic guitar strumming giving the song an overall rock and surf vibe. Apache's "Avante Gar" has an interesting percussive flavor. The song is held together by rapid 16th note percussion that drives forward while melodies hover above. The melodic content, which is in direct contrast to the rapid percussive effects, flows with surf phrases and licks making this an engaging composition to listen to. The Spytones are up again with the song "Rocketball." A soft percussive shuffle will get you immediately off your feet, dancing on the beach. In "Rocketball" all the instruments come together for a harmonious surf-swing bliss with a big band-in-the-sand feel. The Derangers' "Revenge of Chupacabra (!La Venganza!)" combines surf and blues for a slice of surf-rock soul. There’s some sweet bluesy guitar work in this song with nice distortion, bends and lead riffs.
Susan SurfTone shines on "Mint471." "Mint471" is classic surf rock with high-energy. The drums and guitar play off each other very well. There is a live feel as the song has multiple rhythmic change-ups and everyone sounds like they are jammin’ along and having a great time . Track 14, The SpyTones' “The 57,” is the third song contributed by the group. “The 57” showcases harmonic progressions as the song enjoys multiple modulations. Mid-way there’s a fantastic drum solo that will surely get you off your feet. The melodic content sounds part surf and part spy thriller for an entertaining listen. The last track is Los Surfer Compadres' “Nairobi” which opens with an unusual radio report, a man speaking about an event in Kenya where a healing took place. Melodies are played in different registers and timbres against steady drumming. The finale is equally interesting as the music cuts off abruptly for a repetitive count-off then complete silence.
Overall, this album has everything fans of surf music could want and more. For more information about 'Gnarly Wave Volume Two by Various Artists,' visit Bongo Boy Records website.
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