Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Great Name, Crappy Album: Guantanamo Baywatch

I have a crabby, disgruntled review of Guantanamo Baywatch's Chest Crawl up today at Dusted: Guantanamo Baywatch Chest Crawl Dirtnap Guantanamo Baywatch is a pretty good all-instrumental surf band with a terrible singer. Chest Crawl, the band’s second album (and first for Dirtnap), puts vocals on all but three of its 11 songs, attempting Cramps-style, reverbed rants, Trashmen-esque shouted call and response, Elvis-y 12/8 balladry and hiccuping rockabilly vamps and sheep-bleating, vibrato’d yelps, all badly off-key and dreadfully recorded. Without the singing, Guantanamo Baywatch is tight and credible “Barbacoa”’s rampaging snare intro, its syncopated chords, its whomping, thumping bassline builds a sense of headlong rush into Dick Dale-like instrumentals. Later, “Chest Crawl” bristles with staccato tension, its rapid-fire guitar bravado in sync with drums and bass. And “Massage My Taj,” near the end, picks up from a slow, dull beginning to swagger and strut. Though never exactly hi-fi, these tracks are crisp enough to follow. There are sudden stops and abrupt onslaughts, everyone together, everyone in tune. But something happens when vocals come in. More

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