The Wave Chargers - Caravelle

The Wave Chargers - Caravelle

The Wave Chargers made a big impression on me with their intial handful of EPs. Raw and lo-fi traditional surf recordings. There's nothing particularly unique about that, but they did it well, and in particular some of their covers brough out a viciousness missing from the originals -- that's not to say they did it better than the bands themselves, but I think we sometimes forget that even the classics might have been a little stiffer from studio stagefright.

Then their debut LP felt like a bit of a different animal. Still traditional surf, but I felt a lot more focus on melody instead of intensity. It was a good record, I think I even gave it a Gremmy honorable mention.

But why not both intensity and melody? To me *this* is the record that announces the arrival of The Wave Chargers, what they're about and what they can do. It's a bonafide guitar party, flying all over with great riffs, adventurous explorations, and white-knuckle thrill rides, doing it all with a great surf tone.

This is *not* a return to that lo-fi sound, but give "Eddie Would Go" and you'll hear a classic surf style that reminds you that this is the genre that *invented* aggressive rock music. Their cover of "Bikini Drag" is fairly by-the-books, but nevertheless has me gripping on for dear life. "Da bull" is a screamin' guitar romp that left me saying "fuck yeah" in the two seconds before the next track.

While I would call this a traditional surf record, there are a lot of moments that, while seemingly not explicitly venturing outside 60's musical vocabulary, reach beyond teenage-brain riffage for a greater sense of drama. To some extent I would say this of the opener "Sheitanus Maximus", which starts off wobbly and mysterious, but explodes into surf. "Squalidae" is a great example though, which evokes a somewhat Western mood but without many of the actual hallmarks of the genre. It doesn't sound very Western, but it feels like it. There's a lot more complicated arrangements and flair going on here than the straightahead surf songs, or at least the slower pace gives you more opportunity to notice.

And then you've got the obvious deviations, evidenced by their titles using native characters: "Kyokunomi" and "Djerba Twist", giving some exotic flair to the record and driving home the globetravelling theme.

But this really doesn't feel like a record that's trying to explore the full breadth of traditional instrumental; it's really just a collection of great songs. This album impressed me upon first listen, and here I am months later writing my review because I keep coming back to it.


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