I was looking forward to this a lot because I have visited the bands MySpace page and was impressed. They also have some video's on YouTube. I had a feeling I was not going to be disappointed. Now the review...
The first track they lured me into the bands music was "The Song Remains Insane." I was really blown away with the guitar work on this track. I think this song optimizes the Secret Samurai's sound and highlights Ryan's diversity as a guitar player. If I was going to use one song to promote the band I think I'd use this track.
"Titus" is probably my favorite track. I am not shy about my love for 1st wave surf and when I hear Titus all I can think of of 1st wave crashes with modern surf music resulting in a great sound. I see the Dale/ Messina influence here big time. It reminds me of the upbeat "Breeze and I" from Messina with its main riff. There are catchy Dale like guitar rakes ala "Let's Go Tripping" throughout that track giving the song a great fullness. At the same time, the song seems more sophisticated then those simple songs of the past that it relics.
Another track that is extremely note worthy is "Off the Richter" If their was every a Surf Monster Ballads CD, this would have to be on it. I have to say this song is completely bass and drum driven, yet the guitars do not disappoint.
"L'ultimo Basamento" has that Middle Eastern waltz feel, think Dick Dale's Surf Tango but more middle eastern and more interesting guitars. Maybe thats a crappy comparison. Another great tune regardless.
The only things I was not thrilled about this album was its cover song. I am not a huge fan of Istanbul. But, since I have only heard covers of this song, its probably not fair for me to judge. I also think "Don't Fear the Reverb" has no business being the opening track for the album. It is the weakest song on the album. (Please don't take it personal, you guys are great people and great musicians) It is just too generic sounding to be the first thing people hear when there are a shipload of great songs to follow.
Don't miss out in this album, its a contender for sure. I am glad I bought it. I think Ryan said this was 10 years in the making? I hope we don't have to wait that long for another release...