January 11th, 2014 | Album reviews

The Insect Surfers
Infra Green
Marlin Records

Coming out of the original American Punk era in 1979, the Insect Surfers‘ version of surf rock has always had more in common with the experimental groove of, say, the Minutemen, than it ever had with lo-fi surf purists like the Phantom Surfers. “Trash Rock” this is not! And while this might make lovers of the Trashmen or Astronauts or the Fender Four pine for more grit and mystery, what you get here instead is an entirely new strain of music that, you know, actually evokes the translucent sheets of water in a pipeline wave as the sunrise pokes through it while you hang ten on a crisp Malibu morning. It’s the growth of something, not the return to something. And yet these guys, mostly led by Dave Arnson, have slow-cooked their sound for years now, too, knowing what they want and having fun trying to get it. Though this is not space rock or prog rock, this album in particular gets pretty spacey at  times, and more than a little progressive (Arnson plays a mean electric sitar in a few key places); if you busted out the salvia or psilocybin while listening, I’m sure it would pair as well as clams and fettucine at the Reel Inn. Standout track on here is definitely the “all-in” length-monster “Radar Road,” a veritable who’s-who of first and second wave surf that includes solos by members of the Belairs, Mermen, Pollo del Mar, and classic biker album maestro, Davie Allan! Special bonus love to drummer Dave Klein, whose played with everyone from the Bomboras to Agent Orange to the Seeds and who either plays drums here, or merely tracks them–Dave, have a beer with me and tell me which!

-D. M. Collins