Rock music has a seemingly unending array of sub-genres but among them one of the most fun to play and to listen to is surf. There’s just something very freeing about the sunny sounds of surf rock guitar. Listening to it one cannot help but feel rather giddy and happy the whole time, or else feel oneself compelled to move as freely as a wave to its spiraling rhythms. When one hears these sweet sounds it harkens back to an earlier time when life seemed so easy. You danced on a beautiful sandy beach by day, drinking Coca-Cola and not worrying about a damn thing, while at night you donned a Hawaiian shirt and went to a luau.
These are of course stock images I’m conjuring up here but they were the first things that came to mind after listening to Sunstroke, the debut EP from LA surf rock quintet The Kaygles. The four sunny instrumentals on Sunstroke are in the vein of the iconic father of surf rock and perhaps its best known practitioner, but also includes influences from bands like The Ventures and legendary rock guitarist Link Wray.
Sunstroke starts with a bang on the classic sounding “Bringing Sand to the Beach.” Like the perfect wave it gets under you right away and bears you along on it. Lead by rippling guitars and searing saxophone it crashes you down on the shore at its splendid ending.
Next on the much more mellow “Del Tacothe” we get a view of the other end of the spectrum of surf, that of the cool and collected focus of jangly guitar and hollowed out drum beats. This “cool-guy” attitude continues on in the slightly more upbeat and modern sounding “Backyard Boogaloo (Tough Luck).” The final track “Two For Flinching” keeps the mellow chill vibe going but also, with its tricky starts and stops, reveals The Kaygles to be at their tightest.
Though they can’t claim to be adding anything new to the surf rock genre, The Kaygles are well-versed students and if anything are keeping the tradition alive. For anyone looking for a younger take on an old sound The Kaygles’ Sunstroke is a good place to start
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