Are you planning on soaking up the rest of the summer at the Jersey Shore? Maybe you say “F*ck the Jersey Shore” because you live in Malibu, CA? Well, whatever the case may be – you only have a short time left to wring out the last drips of awesomeness the summer has in store for you. I suggest you do it with The Brigantine’s full length debut, Vacation!, loaded on your iPod.
New bands that do the whole surf-rock thing usually get lost in obscurity. And to say that I’m an authority on surf-rock is a bit of a stretch, but I am probably more of a fan of the genre than most people you know. The Beach Boys may have brought surf rock to the forefront, but their music was bubbly pop compared to some of the other more pure surf rock bands that hit since the style’s inception. Truthfully though, there are a lot of bands that consider themselves “surf rock” but play a confusing mixture of garage rock and second rate rockabilly. But that’s not surf. You want examples? Start up a search on ReverbNation and you’ll hear what I mean. It’s rare to hear a modern day band capture the surf sound so dead-on. Simply put, The Brigantine’s do it most excellently.
There’s an ethereal quality in the best surf rock tunes and that texture is all over The Brigantine’s debut Vacation! A couple of weeks ago, the album hit local record stores as well as digital stores like Bandcamp, Amazon MP3, and iTunes (and streaming on Spotify). I gave Vacation! a few thorough listens during my version of surfing – navigating New Jersey’s Route 287 on my daily commute, and I got really into it. Not every single track blew me away, but there’s much more good than bad here. Let me tell you what I thought about some of the songs.
First, I found it very cool that they kick off the album with the title track “Vacation,” but they also include the instrumental version of the track at the end of the album. It’s a nice book end and it also emphasizes the scene that the title track sets. It makes me feel like I’m back on the beach in Brigantine gazing at that pink sky.
The bouncy and humorous “Ray-Bans” may be the one track that I associate with most. It’s about losing your sunglasses (possibly while surfing) which is something I do a lot (not while surfing). It’s a huge disaster for me so I know how it is. I love the line “…Maybe I should put up a sign,” have you seen my Ray-Bans? HAHA. Love it. Word is that the band has filmed a video for this song which is premiering soon!
For the surf rock aficionado’s out there, look no further than “Brigantine Barrel” and “Reeferone” – songs you can confidently fit into a playlist beside any classic surf track like “Miserlou,” “Penetration,” and “Pipeline.” If you’re not into the surf genre than these guys aren’t going to be for you, but maybe you’ll dig their cover of “Then She Kissed Me,” the re-worded version made popular by The Beach Boys and later by KISS. “Next Summer” is quite possibly the strongest track overall. The head bopping beat and yearning harmony is reminiscent of Jersey icons, The Smithereens.
I’m happy that New Jersey has a new surf rock band on the scene who has delicately produced an album that will go down in the Garden State’s rich musical history. Like I said, I feel that I’m qualified to recommend these guys to you for a few reasons. I once drank 4 Stunned Mullets in 10 minutes down on the beach in Asbury and came away with merely a slight headache. I once interviewed Dick Dale and he talked to me for over an hour and a half about everything you can possibly imagine. And last but not least, I don’t surf, but if I ever do, I’ll be bringing my Shark Repellent Bat-Spray because I’ve seen “Surf’s Up, Joker’s Under” about 346 times and those sharks ain’t nothin’ to f*ck with.
The songs on Vacation! remind me of those laid back summer days you get all nostalgic about. That said, if you’re in the mood for some tasty waves and good tunes, check out The Brigantine’s. If you can’t get to the beach, turn on the album, put on your headphones, and use your imagination.
*I’m hoping this is true: Their bio states that they are working on a Halloween single which is making me flip out. I want it NOW! I love when bands release Halloween tracks. I nearly passed out when Alice Cooper released “Keepin’ Halloween Alive,” so these guys will be on my annual Halloween playlist!
The Brigantines are: Aaron Leonovich, Vincent Minervino, Scott Saint Hilaire, Don Tojeira and they’ll be playing at the bonfire in Asbury Park this Friday night 8/24! RSVP HERE: http://www.facebook.com/events/322097011214545/
Official site: http://thebrigantines.com