Pipeline Instrumental Review Issue 127

The latest album from Australian guitarist Martin Cilia, best known to us as the lead player with The Atlantics, packs quite a punch. Martin recorded all of the guitar parts himself but was joined by his Mental As Anything bandmate Jacob Cook who drives things magnificently on drums. Don’t be misled by the title as this is not a full-on surf music album because Martin’s aim was to reflect the history of instrumental electric guitar, resonating from the early ’60s surf sound but with a modern twist.

With its fast double-picked lead and tasty twangs, the opener Rising Surf represents the surfiest track while bubbly damped picking behind a James Bond-style melody are a fine combination throughout On the Rocks. There’s an intensity to Riding the Wave as its strident damped phrases repeatedly drill into your head, but the similarly intense Horror on the Beach does provide relief in its bridge. Splash and Run has elements of both The Atlantics and ’80s Shadows about it, while Space Station is a deeply satisfying twanger with a four on the floor beat and Wallabi Point comes across as a ’60s spy theme.

A stinging lead over a driving beat makes Tube Tone an in-your-face one-two while the title track Dawn of the Surf Guitar features a more focussed version of the melody of Wallabi Point over a chunky backing. Things get slow and moody with the rich, pleading echo guitar on Lowdown Guitar before we hit the outstanding Terminator. This is a collaboration with the late Atlantics drummer Peter Hood who also plays on it and is very much in the style of that band. It’s a fabulous track and one not to be missed by their fans. The album finishes with its one laidback piece in Gordon’s Bay which has an Hawaiian Islands atmosphere to it. This collection will not disappoint Martin’s many fans.

Alan Taylor