Pacific Longboarder magazine
Revenge Of The Surf Guitar
By Martin Cilia
CD from Bombora
Avail: Stores or www.bombora.net.au
Like I told Martin when I first dropped Revenge Of The Surf Guitar into my player – “Wow!” This instrumental album is solid top to bottom. It’s generally in the Atlantics mold, the legendary Australian band that Martin Cilia plays lead guitar in these days – and some songs were first cut with that stellar outfit.
But it’s also very fresh and powerful in its own right. Imagine a merger of the Atlantics often stinging power, the melody sense and guitar interplay of the Bambi Molesters, the fanciful writing of Bill Epps and Dana Vincent for Splashback and the Vara-Tones, and classic American surf, and you’ll get the general drift of the perfection within these 16 wonderful tracks. Check ’em out!
1963: A lovely 38-second surfy reverb guitar duet that lulls you into a perfect space to accept the coming flood of surf grooves.
Surf’s Up: A remarkable track that relies heavily on the interplay between the surf pattern rhythm guitar and whammified lead, that ride atop superb bass and surf drums – infectious, motion oriented, and thoroughly cool.
Reverb Beach: The fine balance between the muted rhythm and the fluid melody creates magnetism that draws you in. The beat and bass lines complete this splendid picture; optimistic, aquatic, visual, and thrilling.
Under The Hood: Lovely Mermen-esq chords, tribal drums, surf rhythm, whammified leads, and moody bass portray a bit of a spy feeling. This track sparkles with a grand blend of Aussie and US surf ideas.
Return Of The Surf Guitar: A merger of the Atlantics’ style, West Coast surf arrangements, and the flair of the Baltic surfbands – infectious and rich in changes and aural quality.
Surfabilly: A romp through a delightful riff. Its energy and sparkle are splendid. While extremely close to a merger of Splashback/Vara-Tones’s “Over The Edge,” it’s also fresh sounding.
Freak Out: Great tribal drums launch this epic stomper. The circulating riff recalls pre-surf rockabilly days, yet is entirely within the surf genre. Splashy and invigorating, the surf rhythm tries to hold down the flying lead jams but can’t.
Point Danger: Perhaps the optimism in this track is from the exuberance of the challenge that calls to surfers as they look at its namesake’s barrels. This song is not the least bit ominous as I expected from the title, but is rather a celebration of the liquid adventure.
The Worm: Utterly infectious and perfectly suited for a dawn ride down that coastal highway with the sea on your left and the perfect spot just ahead. Reminiscent of the Carnations’ “Scorpion,” this track prances on great drums and a relentless progression.
Black Jaguar: Tribal in an exotic, mysterious island vein, and purely surf in every other way, the lead and rhythm guitars circle around each other and intertwine until they are one.
Flight Of The Surf Guitar: Martin launched this song with the Atlantics, and I though it was amazing. Different here, yet no less intensely circular and infectious, it’s just what the title implies, a flight of delightful surf guitars with that signature Australian whammy.
Queen Kahuna: A classic surf rhythm feel with a carnival edge via keys that play the melody in some verses. Organ is a hard instrument to make work in surf, which is why piano was much more common in the early days. However, the keys here are simply charming and fun, and a great counterpoint to the guitars.
Cronulla Point: The namesake is an often-crowded surf spot in Sydney’s South – but you would only know about the thrill of the consistent rides from this frill-laden song. The melody line celebrates, while the rhythm and drums rumble with the energy of the curl.
Surfride: Lovely muted chords and gentle tribal rhythm support a melody born of the Bambi Molesters’ “Tremor” that’s a sparkling and completely delightful adventure in an easy afternoon ride on a long glassy face. The delicate balance between the circling guitars is superb.
Riff A Go Go: Stompin’ and shining with surf enthusiasm, this is no mere riff rocker, but is a fully fledged adventure in Australian surf. The feel and melody are a bit spy-ish, with lovely whammy action on the chords. Beautifully arranged.
Mermaid Beach: This song floats gently with the kind of island emotion that Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross” has – lovely, spatial, atmospheric, and visual!
All comparisons aside, Martin Cilia has produced a truly wonderful CD. He has obviously put a lot of time into arrangements, because this album is very, VERY well done. You might guess from all this that I really like it. Highly recommended!
– Phil Dirt, Santa Cruz