Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Matt Maverick - Outsideness (2011)
Country: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Style: Surf Rock
Label: Already Dead Tapes
Let me set the record straight that I'm about as clueless as anyone about modern surf rock. Give me my experimentalists Secret Chiefs 3 who dabble in the genre on their records or an old Beach Boys or a Dick Dale record and I could probably tell you what they sound like, but I make no claims that beyond that I'm in no way up to date on the genre whatsoever. When I was sent this release though I was a bit put off by the fact that it was a surf rock release, I was still very interested in it. I'm taking a chance on this because like I said, I'm not really a huge fan of this genre.
Depending on what your perception of surf rock happens to be will definitely impact what you think of this record. Unless you happen to be rather well versed in that genre this definitely fits in snuggly within the surf rock and rockabilly genres, I expect that if you are more well versed and invested in those genres you'll let me know. But what's on these thirteen tracks is, essentially, solid, rather upbeat sounding tunes, most of which are instrumental. In order to really describe the sound of this record I guess I could sum it up with another made up genre called "basement surf" because essentially these are short, little, lo-fi tunes that jam out their idea for two or three minutes and then move on. It's by no means complicated stuff on here but they're, for the most part, well written tunes that are immediate and catchy.
Because most of these songs are instrumental, the melodies do have to be good, and like I said above, most of them are really catchy. I think it's worth noting that, and this will be obvious for people who happen to listen to quite a bit of surf rock and rockabilly music, but all the instruments have their place in the sound and nothing is really lost on here because of the lo-fi production. It's great because the guitar, which for the greater majority of the record, carries these songs melodically, but the bass and organ lines are well utilized in certain songs as well. If I had to complain about this record though, it would be that the drums, on certain songs, can sound a bit like someone is just tapping a rhythm on a table. That, along with some of the more noise breaks that are placed on here as well, make up the only real faults on the record in my opinion. Matt's voice on the songs where he sings, Eric Burdon and Black World being two of the handful on here, isn't even all that bad, granted it's closer to him just speaking melodically, it fits with the songs in question and only bring a voice in to reinforce the songs memorability.
I mean, when I first decided to review this, I have to admit that I was a bit worried about it because being described as a surf rock/rockabilly record did kind of put me off it at first. It was nowhere near as bad as I had kind of imagined it being, despite not really being a style I listen to all that often, it's a solid piece of work. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't like this if you enjoy the surf rock/rockabilly genres or even more bedroom singer-songwriter albums.
Overall Score: 7
Highlights: The Creature, Jungle Justice, Eric Burdon