The Defiant Ones: Super Secret Disaster (2006)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101 on February 7, 2006)
The only reaction a person can have to this CD: Holy Crap! This is absolutely insane, completely over-the-top music. It's a side-project between two of the Balboas, Rich (lead guitar) and Caitlin (bass in the Balboas and baritone guitar here), and Dusty and Sam (Slacktone, Agent Orange, Jon & the Nightriders, Dick Dale, etc., etc., etc.). It's a mix of California hard-core punk and surf, and it's definitely UNIQUE. It's grungy as hell, and it ain't pretty in any way shape or form, but damn, it rocks like a mutha!
Imagine Dick Dale and Link Wray fronting a hard-core rhythm section (Black Flag or Dead Kennedys or something) and you get some idea. The music is in general very riffy, without much melody (though there are a couple of songs that show some melody, such as No Soy or 6000 Stitches). But it really doesn't matter, cause when you listen to it loud you get totally swept up in the aggression and the attitude of it all. This is a CD with giant balls! There are four vocal songs that have nothing to do with surf music – again, not much melody, but huge energy that get you pumped up big time, even me, and I usually hate that sort of a thing! The whole CD actually doesn't sound THAT much different from the Balboas, really. Maybe just a bit more 'out there'. And in fact, it's a 'family' affair for the Balboas, as they all appear on the CD in some form or another: besides Rich and Caitlin, the Balboas' rhythm guitarist Rick plays organ on one track (though it's not clear whether he really should be...), the Balboas' singer wrote the lyrics for the four vocals (though they're sung by two other dudes whose names I didn't recognize – maybe punk singers?) and the Balboas' drummer Ben did all the artwork, which is very 'film noir' (the cover shows a dirty ashtray, a switchblade, a syringe and a few other blurry items – that pretty much tells you the whole story. Dusty and Sam sound on this CD like they not only never played surf music in their lives, but never even HEARD it! It's all about punk with bass and drums on this album, baby. But the guitars are definitely Fender all the way, awash in a sea of reverb. I gotta say that the songs are all a blur, one sounds pretty much the same as another. But it works somehow. (Except for the two instro covers, which aren't very good - Ghostriders, and Bajjad by sixties Aussie instro band the Echoes.) Oh, I should also mention that Dave Wronski is a guest on one track, The Exile. It's a really simple repetitive song that could easily get boring. But Dave is able to somehow keep exploring the melodic and rhythmic possibilities of the song and ends up extracting the maximum mood and coolness out of it. Some of the notes he plays in that song are just wild!! Anyway, I recommend you get this CD, crank up the volume and wallow in the sheer adrenaline and ridiculousness of it all. Crazy, man, just crazy....