Album Reviews

Bikini Beach Band – Sour Cream For The Soul

(Mad Village) UK release date: 8 September 2008

Curtains closed? Check. Slab of lager, a few bottles of rum and a bag of ice? Check. Flip-flops and knotted hankie firmly in place? Check. Looks like I’m ready to experience Sour Cream For The Soul in the way it’s been intended.

Slip the CD in, turn up the stereo and crack open Pint #1. Here comes Galloping Melody. A surf inspired amalgam of all the horsie related tunes you can think of. The Overture to William Tell sets it off at one hell of a gallop, before cantering into the Black Beauty Theme and a cunning take on Crazy Horses. It’s not bad, but at this point it’s a little lightweight and far to close too the sounds of Hank Marvin to be anything other than safe and inoffensive.

Time for a short, and just as we’re considering the outcome of a mighty drinking binge, the BBB present their version of Rehab. Maybe rehab’s what’s needed, or at least some kind of 12 step programme. But there’s still all this booze to enjoy � so maybe tomorrow. Stripped of vocals and reliant purely on the guitar to lead the way it sounds a little empty. It’s a neat idea but it’s not enough to get out of your chair for. Unless you’re reaching for the next beer.

Crack the can, and here comes Feel Good Inc, which is practically impossible to go wrong with. BBB don’t go wrong, and when they hit the part where they’re riffing on De La Soul‘s contribution the flip-flops are in danger of being waggled right off. Likewise, The Model is a pretty standard song for instrumental interpretation and is the inspiration for a slight outbreak of the robo. It doesn’t quite measure up to Snakefinger‘s inspired take on it but as the rum slides down, things are starting to seem a whole lot more interesting. OK so it’s hard not to wish for a slightly harder edge to things � la Dick Dale, but the longer the session goes on the less important that seems.

Hey Ya’s next and it has to be said it suffers a little from the lack of vocals, which after all was the whole point of that song. Time to get up out of the chair, pause the player and it’s time to break the seal. Take a little time out to fix a mojito (just to get into the whole beach party vibe) and then on with the album and BBB’s own Tequila Mockingbird. An original composition is a welcome break from the sea of cover versions, and although it’s far from startling it proves that the band are capable of stretching themselves beyond the relative safety of cover versions.

By the time the compulsory workout of the James Bond Theme has finished it’s time to cut some shapes. It can’t be helped. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor has us filling in the vocals and risking severe knee damage. Crazy, which opens with an almost march like drum beat before adding some stabbing ska rhythms to proceedings, sees some surfing action courtesy of a vivid imagination and the sofa.

As the album ends, the pile of cans mount up and the ice settles at the bottom of the glass, it’s a considerable benefit that the cd player is set to repeat and we can enjoy the whole thing in far more applicable state. Half cut and over excited is the way to enjoy Bikini Beach Band � catching them live will undoubtedly be a treat, but on record, considerable chemical assistance is highly recommended.

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Bikini Beach Band – Sour Cream For The Soul