The Surfing Magazines - The Surfing Magazines

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:7 Release Date:2017-09-01

Rock and roll is the most criminal of musical forms, with so many thieveries, either accidental or blatant, that it could easily be argued that there has never been an original rock song ever. In the end, what seems to be one of the heaviest determinants of guilt is the quality and subsequent success of the song in question. Such things come to mind as I listened to the eponymous debut album from The Surfing Magazines.

The Surfing Magazines are an amalgamation of Slow Club's Charles Watson and David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki of The Wave Pictures, and Dominic Brider on drums. They’re also talented musicians, with lots of tasty guitar work, from bitchin' riffs to old-school solos, which helped keep my interest and ignore the derivative nature of the entire endeavor. Surf instrumentals, Doors-esque psych-rock, Bo Diddley chuggers, Grateful Dead laidback pieces, and a whole lotta Neil Young are heard throughout. Hell, I think the boys owe a songwriting credit to the old man on at least one song, “Voices Carry Through the Mist,” which is so Neil it’s as if he pulled an un-credited turn in the studio. Still, the group’s borrowed sounds are couched in such well-crafted songs, and done with obvious affection and reverence that I think they merit a pardon.

“Summer” has a laid-back soul/blues thing going on, and “New Day” blends sixties garage band with some truly sweet fret work. “One of These Days” has that Dead feel I mentioned, and “Goose Feathered Bed” is a joyful Bo Diddley romp with more White Stripes than Bo, yet also a homage-worthy harmonica solo to close things out. “A Fran Escapes” and “Peeping Dom” are the two instrumentals, with plenty of twangy reverb riffs and horns to keep things authentic. The Doors vibe shows up via the opening number “Sawdust in my Eyes,” with eerie synth lines entangled with Robbie Kreiger-meets-Neil Young guitar soloing, spiraling out of control as the song fairly crashes to a halt. “Line and Shadows” is the most original, all the way down to the saxophone cacophony at the tail end.

The members of The Surfing Magazines have a reputation for being quite prolific, so it’s a wonder they even had the time to get this product together. That they did so with a satisfactory collection of songs is even more impressive. From a motivational point of view, the band seems driven, at least in part, by their issues with today’s “pretentious prog-indie-rock millionaires and bongo pop demigods,” an amusing rallying cry, even if it’s slightly dubious in nature. Seriously, do any “prog-indie-rock millionaires” even exist? Nonetheless, their promise to alternately “blow” and “soothe” the listener’s minds is something I can certainly stand behind. Worth a listen.

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