Breakers Music 2020
Riding the waves of Lake Michigan, Chicagoan trio right the wrongs of a twang.
Keeping one’s face straight when playing surf rock is an art in itself – it must be as impossible as keeping one’s knees straight when standing on the board – yet this Illinois ensemble seem to have mastered the thing. If their sophomore effort can’t allow the collective sense of humor float beyond the point of piece’s titles, the band’s punchy sound does the trick by simultaneously measuring the skies and fathoming the depths of any tune they serve up. And boy, the riches which are there are much more interesting than what beachcombers find.
But the music the trio deliver marries celestial affairs to social mundanity, as signaled with spoken word – the only voice on the otherwise instrumental record – at the start of opener “Wrong Side Of The Tracks” where “tracks” imply both rails and album numbers, before its bluesy licks turn into the muscular dirge on “Hour Of Darkness” and into the twang on the titular cut. Sax-smeared and cello-kissed, the “Voodoo Treatment” drama will eventually bare the cinematic essence of interplay Jim Abrahams’s guitar, Jayson Slater’s bass and Marc Lockett’s drums produce, until fiery ripples render “Flametop” as an entrancing dance, and the galloping aggro of “A Gun, A Saloon, A Legend” and “Vodka Sonic” let out an arresting grin.
Still, “It Waits Below” bounces on subaquatic frequencies in quite a spaced-out manner, “Drops Of Third Eye” comes across as light and, well, somewhat superficial, while the effects-spiked “Mesozoic Melee” and fuzz-filled “Wave Train” have a mighty groove attached to their rumble. So there’s a lot of variety on this spellbinding album, which should cure any malady the listener may contract: keep a straight face, and three doctors from Illinois are ready to bring you a smile.