City Paper is not for tourists
With East Coast wave action going Waimean courtesy of hurricanus interruptus Felix, this instrumental array provides a spectacular backing track for footage of double-overheads at Rockaway Beach and other mid-Atlantic strands where the late-summer rollers tend to be more microscopic. In arranging their collection, Northern California guitar ace Miles Corbin and cohorts stack the classic elements of surf-music ear candy—maximum twang-bar leads, misterioso rhythm jangle, oak-solid bass and percussion. However, Surfmania pushes beyond the Dick Dale homage zone; the band elegantly interpolates touches from folk-rock, psychedelia, heavy metal, punk, grunge, and other subsequent genres that have serially eclipsed but never erased the original form’sgaragey allure. Surf music grew out of earlier explorations by such avatars of mild-mannered middlebrow exoticism as Martin Denny and the sambameisters of the ’50s. The AVs give Denny his propers, naming a number after him, and happily shimmy through several slices of Brazilian-inflected material. But these boys have more in mind than shooting the curl; one song invokes the ghost of Raymond Chandler, another bows in the direction of Ennio Morricone. Half the fun of listening to this disc is pinning the tail on the influence, and the other half is reveling in the Velvets’ scratchy-smooth delivery.