The Bomboras were a standout group of the 90's surf revival, bolstered by a wild live show (not that I ever saw it) and a little extra visibility from one of their albums being released on Rob Zombie's label. Their sound was loud and savage, full of wild energy without adopting overt punk influence, sticking with fuzz over distortion and letting the organ do a lot of the talking. They called it quits in the year 2000.
These records were good, but I wouldn't say that any were can't-miss records of the era. However they were high-profile enough that the announcement of their return and upcoming LP was as eyebrow-raising as any other surf music news that I could think of. Then in 2021 they released their comeback EP Return of the Up Up Sound, which was the sort of record that only takes seconds to recognize as something great. I find the title of it to be pretty modest, as this is a much bigger sound than anything we'd heard from them -- a highlight of that year despite just being four songs. To me, this changed the picture, framing the new Bomboras as more than curiosity, rocketing their LP to perhaps my most anticipated upcoming surf release, and in a way also heralding the new reinvigorated stature of the MuSick Recordings label. If you buy this record, you need to have the EP as well.
On SONGS FROM BEYOND! The Bombras' sound is bombastic. I'd apologize for that sentence if it didn't seem perfect outside of the wordplay. It's explosive, propulsive, and in-your-face pretty much from start to finish. I laughed when I arrived at the third track "Frenzied", thinking "Were we not already?" Even when they evoke Link Wray on "Blowback", Link's slinky switchblade style is reimagined with the blunt force of a freely-swinging baseball bat. I've seen people say things like "pick up right where they left off" and "it's like time stood still", but I think that's not true: either this is a more advanced, focused, and effective version of the sound The Bomboras had before, or this is a better studio capturing off The Bomboras than we've heard yet and I'm just wooed by the production of it (as I often am). I'm inclined to think the former. The melodies are generally pretty clearly defined and simple, anthemic even. This helps the band come together as one sound, rather than a fancy guitarwork showcase. Nor would I say that drums are a particular focus -- the legendary Dusty Watson joined the group, but he feels like a part of the Bombora machine rather than a distinguished presence. Nor would I say that the organ runs the show, but it's absolutely a crucial part of the equation.
"Mockinbird" is a great example of this, a swirling party raver that doesn't feel like a guitar-led song, even though it is. You get the gist real quick, and in moments you can engage with the song as if you've heard it five times. I really want to hear this song live (and hopefully I will at Surfguitar101). "Homage to Dave Pilgrim" is a heartening title to see, paying tribute to their 90's surf fallen comrade, and though it does have a nice Pilgrim stomp to it, I LOVE how they repurpose the intro lick from The Sentinals' "Latin'ia" from a neat intro into a head-clearing motif. "Westchester Hosts Hawthorne" has a party anthem feel to it as "Mockinbird" but with occasional offroads into white-knuckle territory, then whipping you back into comfort with a moment to laugh at the danger.
SONGS FROM BEYOND! (they always seem to present it in all-caps, so I want to respect that) is a comeback record that delivers in heaps, but doesn't seem burdened with the weight that a 25 year absence could. Doesn't show off, just blows up, and leaves you sweaty just listening to it. The craziest thing is that with all this time that the genre has had to build and evolve off of not only the 60's but the 90's, this still feels like they're doing something all of their own, and remaining extremely accessible while doing it.
Get it on one of many different vinyl flavors or digital from their bandcamp.