Surf rock has long posited itself as the John Waters of music genres. Forever infatuated with camp and all things kitschy, the scene's lifeblood is cultural detritus, from bad sci-fi flicks to wrestling. And while all that may be smirked upon by the highbrows, in truth, it says a lot about us. Namely, that we're not a breed to be taken too seriously.
And that's a lesson that the Sump Pump Monkeys have learned well. The local surf/rockabilly trio is the aural equivalent of a pair of cheap 3-D glasses, and damn near as fun as donning a pair at the drive-in to watch Godzilla stomp on Tokyo. The band's latest, Destroy the Waves!, is a blend of Dick Dale's fretboard voodoo and a Man or Astro-Man?-esque infatuation with weird science. The production is wafer-thin, but thankfully, it doesn't rob the Monkeys of too much of their heft, which is key. Perhaps the best thing about these boys is that they lack the gaunt sound that renders many acts of this nature chicken-chested rock weaklings. But the burly, lunch-money-swiping "Tractor Beam" and knuckle-dusting "Electronic Formation of a Crouton" make the Monkeys' Russell Crowe-rivaling manliness evident.
Elsewhere, the burping bass and percolating electronics of "An Amphipod's Bioluminescence" makes it ideal for an episode of Dr. Who, while the sweltering, Reverend Horton Heat-indebted "Riptide" is perfect for a hot summer day spent lounging in the yard. Right next to the pink flamingos.
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