Great Instro Tunes with a Killer 60's vibe!
So what a great Sunday! The Spurs play tonight and will hopefully be closing out the series against the Clippers and heading to the Western Conference Finals (Sorry LA Folks), and I have a great new surf album to check out, The Coconauts “Get Coco-Naughty!”
My first observation about this record is that the overall vibe of the recording is really hip, it reminds me of the production from the early 60’s. The drums sound like they are indirectly miked, with a lot of ambience coming from the recording space. The tone of the guitars and bass are great, obviously these guys are using some great gear, and know how to make it sing.
The first tune, “00Coco”, has a great 60’s spy-surf vibe to it. The rhythm guitar seems just a little loud in the mix, and I could use a bit more bass drum, but that’s just me being super picky.
The second tune, “Three Guitars,” has a great introspective kind of vibe, with a minor, almost Spanish flavor. I personally would love to hear this tune played with brushes on the drums, at least on the intro. Wow, some great solo guitar work here! Bravo guys!
“Coco au GoGo” has got kind of a 50’s slow dance chord progression set to a surf beat. Nothing ground-breaking here, but a fun tune. The bass player does a great job of really pushing the groove on this one, love his approach to time keeping!
“Space Ghost” is the next tune… based on the cartoon of the same name maybe? (Ah the hours in college I spent wasting on “Space Ghost” and “The Brak Show.”) The drums are a bit too in the front of the mix for me, but it really does add the the 60’s garage band flavor of the production.
“Over the Rainbow,” is next. First of all, let me say that this is an ambitious song to cover, due to the amount of great covers that have already been done of this piece. That being said, I really dig this interpretation of the piece. It would be cool to hear the groove break down a little bit on the bridge perhaps? The phrasing of the melody in the lead guitar is great. I like the use of dynamics in the second statement of the bridge.
“The Lonely Coconaut” has got a great, almost jungle-like feel to it. The bass is really driving the groove here, I dig it. More dynamics would really make this tune come alive even more. Yes, I love the Bullfighter Tune reference in the middle, well done!
“Amapola” has a really nice latin feel to it. Some hand drums and maybe some claves would really push this one to the next level. Yes, really dig the key change! Helps push the tune forward. The tune is the perfect length too. Not too long, not a wasted note. The highlight of the album for me.
“Blue Hawaii” is a nice little 6/8 ditty. You can hear some little “Blue Moon” quotes occasionally, I am not sure if this is intentional or not, but I dig it either way.
“Pearly Shells” has kind of a doo-wop feel to it, (with the end of the A section melody reminding me of “Who put the bomp” by Barry Mann).
“Coco-naughty” is a driving tune that follows a 12 bar form with a cool little added tag. I am reminded of “What I say” by the first few notes of the main ostinato. Like the length, short and sweet.
“She” is a driving ballad tune, with a cool bridge progression. I like the doubling of the melody on the restatement of the main theme. (Is that some baritone guitar I hear?)
“Undertow” is definitely straight out of the 60’s. Super cool tune for sure. Really like the guitar work on the bridge, style is right on. This is one of the highlights of the album, really captures the frenetic energy of the old surf 45’s. Diggin’ Picardy Third on the final cadence (any music theory nerds out there?).
“Return of the Death Ray” rounds out the album, and sounds like a lot of fun to play. I love the random switch to the “Bo Diddley” feel halfway through.
Overall, this album is a lot of fun to listen to. Very authentic surf sounds here, and some great playing.