Surf and enjoy

space mariachisReturn Of The Space Mariachis – Stories From Shamehill (self released)

Surf-tiki rock from the Netherlands? I’m in. Let’s face it: stranger things happen in Amsterdam - usually involving special cakes sold at coffee shops - and this trio of reverb-obsessed retro heads is nothing if not inventive.

With assistance from The Hot Habanero Horns (actually two horns and a harmonica), Stories From Shamehill worked up their second full studio album over five days in 2021 and it’s a barrel of fun.

The Stories have been riding their surf wave since 2012 and have even managed to tour and record in California. Talk about taking coals to Newcastle…

It’s hard doing something new if you play the blues. hardcore or surf. All three genres seem to be based on rules that don’t allow deviation from the norm. In the case of surf (and blues for that matter), bits of the music are so baked into rock and roll that it’s hard for it not to strike a chord.  

Stories From Shamehill’s early stuff is online and is steeped in classic, clean surf guitar. “Return…” never goes all the way down the fuzz and distortion route, but sounds just a little tougher, and the extra instrumentation gives it a broader sonic palette.

You pay your money and you get 10 songs. The album’s a real productivity booster in these days of iso and working from home.  It’s not bland enough to be wallpaper and has enough variety and energy to maintain interest.

“Return of the Space Mariachis” is a two-parter and spotlights the choppier side of guitarist Joris de Haan’s oeuvre. These songs are playful and never the band never takes itself too seriously.

”Hallo Weiner” cross into space rock territory. The horns kick in in earnest on “Salsa Verde”, bouncing off bright guitar licks. It’s instro all the way with an “ooga-chukka=ooga-cha” vocal line thrown into “Bo George” to keep you on your toes.

Sample and buy on Bandcamp.

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Tags: surf, return of the space mariachis, stories from shamehill, amsterdam

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