LEI'D WITH - The Alohas (Off the Hip)
Being the only person in this Bar who really has a liking for instro surforama, I was never going to be knocked over in the rush for volunteers to wrap their ears around this one. I ain't complaining though (mainly 'cos no-one listens). There are worse ways to spend your listening time than spinning surf discs and what the Alohas do, they do very well.
Oz Music owes a great debt to the surf bands of the early '60s who paved the way for the onslaught of beat music that followed. There's a reason surf music doesn't dominate various scenes these days - by its own nature, it is a limiting genre and there's only so much you can do that hasn't been done many times before. I know the same applies to 'most any other sort of music you want to name, but there are precious few ways to hide it with instrumental surf.
The Alohas manage to be slightly different by playing slightly trashed-up surf, a la a down and dirty version of Dick Dale. All the usual reference points are there (The Atlantics being an obvious one) but it's gargey in tone. The production resonates rather than dominates and they've resisted the urge to make "Get Lei'd With" too contemporary sounding.
Cute songs titles ( "The Plank", "Superskeg", "Lunalaguna") don't make a summer but you have to at least give the Alohas a tick for putting thought into it. Although they do their thing with a garage edge, it never goes fully down the fuzz-laden path of Davie Allan and the Arrows, but does leave the likes of Sydney contemporaries The Wetsuits (and their Surf Lite "Golden Tones" disc) wallowing in the shore dump.
The hardest thing with surf music is to hold the crowd's attention, especially
in pubs where there's more beer than water. From what I've seen of The Alohas
live (on a real big night, the finer details of which are a little fuzzy), they
manage to do so. "The Headhunter" is the best offering, a walking
surf-blues (how's that for hybrid?) with a big fat Dan Electro bass line and
quirky keyboard colourings. "Atlantica" is a "Bombora" beat-styled
run down the wave face. "Lunalaguna" puts some sci-fi intro styling
ahead of Telstar-flavoured surf rock.
If you're into hangin' 10 with a longboard in your garage, this will do fine. If you're not, stay off the beach. - The Barman
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