Tag Archives: Surf

Messer Chups – Church Of Reverb (2013)

Messer Chups - Church Of Reverb (2013)

Surf double!

After yesterday’s review of the latest Man Or Astroman? album, I thought it would be nice to follow that up with the latest from another great surf revival band.

Formed as a spin-off from the fantastic Russian experimental-electro-exotica Messer Fur Frau Muller, Messer Chups still have an experimental edge to them, but incorporate more of a surf sound and a b-movie horror themes (unlike the kitsch futurism of Messer Fur Frau Muller).

The music is upbeat, fun and exactly want out of a surf album, reverb-laden twangy guitars that evoke the ghost of Duane Eddie, a lot of kitsch tongue in cheek, especially on a surfed-up version of Gershon Kingsley’s Popcorn.

Church of Reverb is a mostly instrumental album, which makes the songs with singing stand out a little; for example Rockin’ Zombie jars a little. Also, the scope of surf is not massive, but Messer Chups manage to stay fresh throughout.

I much enjoyed this album. It is not as experimental as it could have been given the source, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, with great tunes, and a great cult-film feel. I don’t think Messer Chups are ever going to excite me the way Messer Fur Frau Muller do, but until they do, I’m willing to keep listening.

Favourite tracks: Dracula Hates Photoshoots, Harlem Nocturne, Hula Tikula
Spotify link: Messer Chups – Church of Reverb
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Man or Astro-man? – Defcon 5…4…3…2…1 (2013)

Man or Astro-man? - Defcon 5...4...3...2...1 (2013)

Man Or Astroman? are a band I definitely don’t listen to enough. The surf-punk quartet from Alabama have been in the game since 1990 and this is their 8th album.

While surf may have had its heyday in the 1960s, there has been a revival of sorts since the 1990s with, for example, Los Straitjackets, Messer Chups, The Mermen, Space Cossacks, Satan’s Pilgrims, Atomic Mosquitoes, etc. Man Or Astroman? incorporate punk and electronics seamlessly to create a sci-fi surf sound. With the inherent retro sound of surf, this approach tends to evoke cult B-movies, and exotica.

This album represents a return to studio for Man Or Astroman?, their first album since 2000’s A Spectrum Of Infinite Scale, and it is also a stylistic change as well. Where A Spectrum Of Infinite Scale was really quite an experimental album, Defcon… is a more restrained album. The electronics are still there; most prominently on the five Defcon tracks. On the whole, it is more streamlined and more restrained, a more alt-rock sound overall and nowhere near as kitsch.

So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends on what you are after. I prefer the experimental nature of A Spectrum Of Infinite Scale, and Defcon… doesn’t quite live up to that standard, fun though it is.

Favourite tracks: Communication Breakdown Pt II, Defcon 3, Defcon 1
Spotify link: Man Or Astro-Man? – Defcon 5…4…3…2…1
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