Los Plantronics - Surfing Times [VINYL]

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:9 Release Date:2015-07-27

Surfing Times, the new album from Norway’s Los Plantronics starts out like the opening of a Tarantino movie, a slow, whistled melody that blasts off into a ultra-bitchin’ rave-up of sinewy riffs, runs, horns, and even 60s-era keyboards. That song, 'From Mecca to Mescalito', sets the table nicely for what follows over the remaining 11 tracks, the majority clocking in under three minutes.

The album is largely instrumental tracks, and there’s plenty to savor from this delicious blend of mariachi rock, rockabilly, and surf with a teaspoon of spaghetti western ethos. The band knows their stuff and this is a collection that is pretty compelling from beginning to end.

My favorite songs are 'T for Terror', a song that struts its Link Wray vibe with vibratoed precision, 'Shawnee', starting off like a car revving up before speeding into a riff that screams spy movie awesomeness, and the Sergio Leone-meets-The Ventures freak out, 'Golden Dawn Surf Patrol'. 'Montezuma’s Revenge' is the most curious of the set, a slow, organ-heavy song driven by a tribal percussion backing that provides something akin to a respite from the treble overload. 

There are a few songs that didn’t quite do it for me, particularly their cover of 'Shortnin’ Bread'. With vocals sounding too death metal, it's a stylistic pairing that's more parody than homage. 'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' doesn’t quite work for me either, with the Elvis vocals and some silly lyrics distracting from what is a pretty cool melody and one of the album's more lyrical guitar solos. Lastly, Robert Gordon’s oft-covered 'Red Hot' is simply a misstep of obviousness, better left to live shows than taking up valuable real estate on a studio recording.

When Los Plantronics stick to simply playing their instruments and skipping the contrived-sounding vocals, they are a very impressive group, even more so when you consider how long they’ve been at this yet still largely unknown. That’s a crime that perhaps this album can help rectify.

This is a recording you could listen to over and over, pumping you up for the day, pushing you onward, and providing the soundtrack to the movie of your life you’re constantly daydreaming about. Wait… We all do that… Right?

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