[30 June 2008]
Almost five years have floated by since Calgary’s surf-rock instrumentalists the Ramblin’ Ambassadors’ critically acclaimed debut Avanti hit the streets in the summer of 2003. And apart from the addition of guitarist “Gentleman” Doug Waite to the line-up of ex-Huevos-Rancheros guitarist Brent J. Cooper, Scout Nickless, and drummer Tyler Pickering, not much has changed. Echoes of the distant past still ring out on a handful of songs including the south-of-the-border opener “Camino Real” with its Duane-Eddy-style twanging guitar and, of course, their revved-up cover of surf-rock pioneers the Bel-Airs’ “Kamikaze”. The excellent “Lonesome Rambler” joins the dots between the grinding-guitar, tassell-teasing strip-club combos of the ‘50s and the reverbed fun-in-the-sun surf bands of the ‘60s. But it’s the contemporary monster sound of numbers like “Speed Wobble” and “Cupcakes di Milo” which provides the highlights with fast and furious tremolo guitar swells and crashing drums.