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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Fall In Love With The Concussions

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I haven't seen much talk around here yet about the Concussions' new release on Double Crown, which is a real shame, since this is a simply PHENOMENAL album! A masterpiece, even, and I really don't think that's an exaggeration in any way, shape or form. The Concussions are a Grand-Rapids-MI-based band that have their own take on instrumental rock'n'roll, certainly surf-influenced though not really surf. They are good friends with Pete Curry, and three of them are even in a garage band with him, the Fuzzrites (with Pete on drums). Tommy, one of the two co-lead-guitarists, the other being Dave, also sometimes plays in the Neanderthals with Eddie Angel and Pete, so the connections to the Los Straitjackets family are pretty strong. And I have NO DOUBT that fans of Los Straits would absolutely love the Concussions' previous CD on Double Crown, "Magic Fingers".

"Fall In Love With..." is quite a bit different than "Magic Fingers", though. It's a very mellow album, full of romantic moods, befitting the title. It's actually part of a concept, as they will be releasing a follow-up CD next year, tentatively titled "Break Up With the Concussions" Smile , and then packaging the two together on vinyl at some later point. "Fall In Love With" features 8 songs, and clocks in at 20 minutes, so it's a mini-album, but it's packed to the hilt with fantastic music in those 20 minutes.

It opens with what must be the most beautiful song I've heard in years, "Dreamsickle", written by Dave, and I'm guessing featuring him on lead. This song is as light and warm as a summer breeze, remarkably delicate with a truly compelling melody, and masteful playing by the whole band. It effectively sets the mood for the whole album, which is one of a very soft touch. Bill on drums (whose day-gig is as a percussionist for a symphony orchestra!) is barely hitting the drums on the entire album. The tones are all very clear and recorded at low levels to really bring out the intimacy of the music. The guitar tones, BTW, are quite diverse. Tommy told me two weeks ago he mostly used his vintage Premier and Magnavox amps, so many of the guitar sounds tend to be slightly gritty and lo-fi, though there's a great deal of variety in that regard. And though both Tommy and Dave use Fender reverb units, reverb is kept fairly light on most songs, or is even completely absent on occasion. Even if the guitar tones are a bit gritty, the overall recording is crystal-clear and very warm-sounding, recorded in Tommy's own all-analog, fully-pro studio.

Some of my other favorites are the remarkable "Phantom Limbs", written by Tommy, which has a bit of a Midnight Cowboy, mid-to-late-'60s lounge vibe, especially once the harmony and counterpoint trombones and timpani come in. The arranging on this song, well, really on all the songs, is just masterful, drawing maximum mood and feeling out of the songs. The song switches back and forth between the moody, minor-key verse and a a brighter-sounding 'chorus', and is really a gem. There's also the somewhat Shadows-influenced "Mrs. Beasley's Lament", written by Tommy, which switches back and forth from a heavily-echoed (and I mean HEAVILY) - by an original early '60s Klemt Echollette - lead to a gritty sounding baritone in a gorgeous uplifting melody.

There are also two songs, both written by Dave, with a bit of a bossa nova influence, too - "Champagne Problem" starts off with the distinctive bossa-nova beat and then goes into a fairly melancholy melody that to my ears bears a bit of an early-'60s British-instro sound, but is really quite unique. The melody on this track is almost Beatlesque in its smooth flow between different parts - Dave is really a melodic master, wow. Truly beautiful, as is the next song with the most awesome title I've heard in a long time: "How To Strip For Your Girlfriend's Girlfriend". Smile Smile Smile This track is pure bossa-nova, the only difference being that the melody is played on a dry-sounding electric guitar rather than a nylon-string acoustic. The piano arpeggios in the background throughout the song are just stunning and incredibly effective, and Christopher's bass playing is very jazzy and uplifting. I really LOVE THIS SONG! Wow. It takes serious talent to write and perform songs like this, and it shows that the Concsussions are a truly world-class band.

The album ends with another gem, "Everyone's Fast Asleep", written by Tommy. This is a Shadows-styled ballad with an acoustic rhythm guitar, and lead guitar that starts off dry but gets heavily echo-ey again as the song progresses. Another astounding melody that could make a grown man get teary-eyed, with an incredible bridge that really elevates the song - into a sheer masterpiece. Love also the xylophone (I think?), probably played by Bill, which is interspersed throughout the song and which ends it and the album in a most gorgeous way.

Another simply mind-blowing release this year, in what's proving to be a bumper-crop year in our beloved genre. If you want some more beauty in your life, this CD is the ticket. Remarkable amount of talent on display here. Go Concussions! I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that they are based so close to me and that we get to play shows with this amazing band. Really looking forward to the next time we get to play together, as well as to the next chapter in this love story!

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Last edited: Sep 20, 2012 13:41:17

Agree Very talented band. Catchy tunes & Tommy always seems to tweak some interesting sounds out of his many guitars.

Radio Free Bakersfield--60 Minutes of TWANG, CRUNCH, OOMPH.
http://radiofreebakersfield.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Free-Bakersfield/172410279636
http://www.sandiegojoe.com/rfb.htm

Wow, I don't know what to say except thank you Ivan! YOu know how much I think of you, your playing, tone and your band....coming from you, this is really great! I'm looking forward to when we can play together again soon..

I think its one of those records that don't hit the listener right away.....it takes a while to get it.....It was a fun record to make...real quick, didn't over-think it. We will be starting on the antithesis of "Fall In Love" late fall.
thank you again
dc

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Concussions/270762379124
www.theconcussions.com
www.facebook.com/pages/The-FUZZrites/127576820596665
https://www.facebook.com/goonlagoonrecorders/?ref=bookmarks

I'm a new fan as well. I really love this album. It isn't pure surf, but if you dig surf, Shadows, and other "vintage" style guitar instrumentals, this is a must own. Beautiful melodies, interesting guitar tones, nice use of effects like echo... highly recommended!

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Just ordered all three albums-looking forward to listening!

It is indeed a great album. Perhaps my favourite release this year. Adding to what Ivan said, several of the tunes are in 3/4 time, which is fairly uncommon in surf. They work wonderfully, and add a nice twist to the music. Congrats on a really great release! I'm looking forward to the next one.

Rev

Home of Surf & Twang

http://www.urbansurfkings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/urbansurfkings/
https://reverbranch.bandcamp.com

I got this at the SG101 convention, but I have so much music to listen to, its been put on the "to listen to stack"
but after this review, I will listen tonight.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

Annnnnd?

Radio Free Bakersfield--60 Minutes of TWANG, CRUNCH, OOMPH.
http://radiofreebakersfield.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Free-Bakersfield/172410279636
http://www.sandiegojoe.com/rfb.htm

Well, that sold me.

Annnnd?

Radio Free Bakersfield--60 Minutes of TWANG, CRUNCH, OOMPH.
http://radiofreebakersfield.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Free-Bakersfield/172410279636
http://www.sandiegojoe.com/rfb.htm

BTW, Ivan, following up on our conversation with Dave at Fong Fest... Mrs. Beasley was Buffy's doll from the show Family Affair:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Affair

doll

I am still digging this album a lot! It is still in heavy rotation since Fong Fest.

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Last edited: Sep 24, 2012 21:08:30

Magic Fingers has been in my car for a while now.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

I wanted to chime back in with something more substantive, since that last line seemed to shoot this thread in the face. I've been a fan of The Concussions since "Introducing..." (or is it "Meet The Concussions"...?), which I believe I bought on the recommendation of a very nice fellow and guitar player who is no longer with us named Randy Bewley, of the Athens, GA band Pylon. He and I worked together for a while and we always talked bands and kooky guitars, both of which he was a fan of. I liked the disc and it led to me later getting "Magic Fingers" from Double Crown, which I like even more and has stayed in regular rotation since I bought it.

I'll try not to regurgitate too much of what Ivan said, but his comments regarding the musicianship and variety, especially the variety of guitar sounds, are spot on. I knew of their association with Los Straitjackets and it's an obvious comparison to make, but I'd make it with the caveat that these guys definitely have their own feel, character, and aesthetic that's part of and at the same time apart from LS in the broader genre of instrumental rock. They manage to accomplish the rather difficult feat of being unique within the parameters of a pretty well-defined genre of music, plus incorporating a lot of other tricks and influences without the whole thing ever once becoming confused. I am particularly a fan of the jazzier tunes on "Magic Fingers," which surprised me since that's not typically my preference. I am getting together an order for Sean at Double Crown right now, and "Fall In Love With..." is gonna be in it.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

This is truly a FINE album ! You cannot help but "Fall in Love" w/the Concussions.....& "Magic Fingers" is FINE as well. The Concussions have their own spin on instro music but it's all good, there is "tongue in cheek" instrumental humor (tone & the FIRST "helicopter" I've encountered....is that a guitar or a helicopter)?? Great Work (& Play) !! (I hear there will be a "Breaking-Up" w/the Concussions CD coming soon as the follow up...)!

Last edited: Sep 25, 2012 16:22:42

Personally, I can't WAIT to break up with the Concussions! Er, I mean, I can't WAIT for "Break Up with the Concussions." I hear this track might be on it...

Radio Free Bakersfield--60 Minutes of TWANG, CRUNCH, OOMPH.
http://radiofreebakersfield.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Free-Bakersfield/172410279636
http://www.sandiegojoe.com/rfb.htm

I was going to review this CD, but after reading Ivan's review, I just have nothing to add. It was an amazing listen the first time I heard it and remains an amazing listen every time I hear it. The way the music on this record is imagined, written and played leaves me dazzled.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Bought this CD a couple of weeks ago. Really enjoy it!

It sounds so vintage and dead-on true. Very pretty but mean guitar tone at the same time, if that makes sense.

The unusual chord arrangements are very cool. Witchiepoo's Jewelry Box is just brilliant.

A couple of the songs remind me of the Sprague Brothers; Champagne Problem - any intentional nod to Pink Champagne?

I really get a kick out of the band's humor in the song titles, although my wife says maybe that's a guy thing. Wink

You know you're listening to something special when a song presses those emotional buttons. This CD does that. Great job!

Paul

Instroverb = thanks for checking us out. It's all you ever hope for when you write this stuff....people taking the time to listen.. Brian = thank you again for the nice words! I'm glad it's still hitting you! Whorehay = you've single handedly pushed this out as well as the FUZZrites stuff...thanks for being so supportive all these years...someday we will meet face-to-face. Revhank = thank you...I'm humbled. So many great releases this year! Glad to hear this one is one of your favs! Richard = Sounds like that Randy guy was my kind of person. I have a wall full of "Rodan" guitars and use them all the time in studio. Thank you for the kind words! Jonfender = haha! you heard the end of "Mod Monster" ...that was my Hound Dog Taylor model Teisco thru the Premier 120...no tricks! Thank you my brother... Noel = Thank you! I think you'll enjoy "Break Up With" too. It will be more majestic and powerful. Not necessary loud and obnoxious.. ColtsSurf = No relation to the Sprague Brothers. We just has these melodies floating around and wanted to record them in a different way i.e. different time signatures. I had Billy play extremely light and let the ribbon mics and vintage gear do the work. All analog! It is a guy thing for sure! I actually thought about including a monogrammed hankie with the record, but I'm saving that for the official release party. The first 45 minute set will feature the music of "Fall in Love"...we will be sporting matching satin robe, pipes, slippers and the socks with the garter belts. We have also hired a couple to make-out in the bed we have provided for them....ON STAGE! Cheers!

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Concussions/270762379124
www.theconcussions.com
www.facebook.com/pages/The-FUZZrites/127576820596665
https://www.facebook.com/goonlagoonrecorders/?ref=bookmarks

Annnnnd?

Radio Free Bakersfield--60 Minutes of TWANG, CRUNCH, OOMPH.
http://radiofreebakersfield.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Radio-Free-Bakersfield/172410279636
http://www.sandiegojoe.com/rfb.htm

WhorehayRFB wrote:

Annnnnd?

...I got the album in the mail from Sean a few days ago but have only had a chance to listen once. I will post a real review after I've spent some more time with it. I have several albums that I've acquired recently that I should post reviews of. So much good stuff, so little time. And money.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

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