The Glasgow TIki Shakers have a unique sound that’s hard to pin down. They’ve never been about noise, power, cavernous reverb. They’ve got this staccato jumpy groove to them, feels relaxed and uneasy often at the same time. More tiki spirit than a lot of surf bands to don a hawaiian shirt, but way too surf to be even close to exotica. Honestly, I think I’m failing to describe it, but suffice it to say that even as they change forms from one song to next, it still feels in line with their personality as a group.
For those that can get locked into this vibe, Blue Transporter is a welcome more of the same. I want to say that it’s branching out, but skipping through previous albums I think I may have been boxing those albums in. What’s important is that it’s thought-provoking the whole way through and never stays still.
But they released TWO albums simultaneously! Happy Halloween (which I’m regrettably only writing about in November) is a full 13 songs of Halloween music that at first seems like a total departure, but again their sonic footprint is all over it. “Mr Wolfman” and “Boo” are great tracks but a little more canonized horror surf fare. “Scaredy Cat” is your first glimpse of true Tiki Shakers in horror mode, a jazzy beat and warped guitar, their sparseness turned strange. It continues that way for the rest of the album, wandering in a strange haze, sometimes lumbering and sometimes hurrying, always strange. It reminds me of Odicolon’s refreshing take on horror surf, and maybe even moments of Frankie Stein, rather than the typical Ghastly Ones approach.