The Great Lakes are the biggest lake system on Earth with a total shoreline of 10,900 miles, more than the East and West US coasts combined. It should come as no surprise that Syracuse is home to a burgeoning Surf Rock scene and the birthplace of Underwater Bosses. These guys have been playing together in numerous projects for over 2 decades, but finally formed this band last September. Their debut album, Aqua La Vista, was released in April and consists of 12 original tracks that perfectly capture the spirit of the sport, that made the genre famous.
“Ride of the Surfers Ride” opens the album with everything you’d hope for in a surf rock song. Wet, arching guitar riffs, head bobbing drum beats and a bass line to boogie to. “Basshead” takes that and turns it up even higher, all while adding a salty organ to the mix. This is the kind album you play in your car on a sunny day with the windows down. In fact, it was the “Between the Black Sea and Me” that made me get into my car to take a drive in order to fully appreciate the sound and style of this album.
“Red Tide” is a prime example of how this band’s sound can make their music feel oceanic in size. This song itself is a powerhouse; large from the get-go like the algae blooms it’s named after. This band continues to encapsulate the feeling of surfing with a sound that swells in and out like the sea itself. “KGB Tsunami,” my favorite instrumental surf track on the album, has a super catchy guitar riff and Chris Stewart really lets his inner Dick Dale shine as he makes you feel like James Bond is catching waves. Bob Breen’s intense drumming can’t be highlighted by a single track but “Surfin Hand” really showcases his talent. The same can be said for Greg Bresett on bass, who obviously shines on “Basshead” but really kicks it up on “Heavy the Ride.”
This album also consists of two vocal surf tracks and the really hold their own amongst the instrumental surf tracks. “Turtle Neck Sweater Zombies” is infinitely catchy and fits nicely in the first half of the album. However, “Surfin Lullaby” is the most unique song on this album and also the most beautiful. It shines a lovely light on how great this band is and would be a lovely cap to the album, but a better one is certainly the last full track, “Surftacular”. It’s just one last all-out surf fest until the end. While this album is a must-listen for any fan of the surf rock genre, I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a fast, fun and frenetic sound.
Key Tracks: KGB Tsunami, Surfin Hand, Surfin Lullaby