“Savage pulp beat noir n’ roll.” That’s how New York City’s the Vandelles succinctly describe the tidal wave of dischordant surf rock that ebbs and swells over the course of the five excellent tracks (and one disposal hidden track) which make up their self-titled debut EP. Imagine Jesus and the Mary Chain backing Jan and Dean as Link Wray punches holes in the amp’s speakers with a pencil and you have a pretty good idea where these numbers are heading—way out and beyond the line-up. Snatches of twanging surf guitar, shuffling tambourine and partially submerged vocals vie for attention on “Swell to Heaven”, easily the most accessible cut here, bringing to mind a fuzzed-out “Little Honda”, whilst the darkly atmospheric standout “Lovely Weather” rides in on a ferocious, reverb-sodden guitar storm that doesn’t let up. If there was ever an aural equivalent of being caught inside as a massive set rhythmically pounds your head into washing-machine oblivion, this is it. No wonder “Charlie don’t surf”.
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// Notes from the Road
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