There was a time, around the mid-nineties, when I was particularly enamoured of surf music. Enamoured is putting it mildly, actually. I was often seen emerging from independent records shops in various parts of the midlands and north-west of England with teetering piles of vinyl threatening to obscure the path in front of me as I ventured precariously into the traffic.
It was a bad habit to acquire because, too late, I realised that I’d got to the stage of buying things I didn’t actually like very much. Belatedly, I eschewed my profligate ways, returned to the more varied musical diet that was my natural inclination and became, I admit, something of a surf music sceptic. Whilst the likes of Man…or Astroman continued to form an important part of my listening experience, I grew wary of venturing too far into the surf waters lest I once again be indiscriminately consumed by whatever lay out there.
The consequence of this is that nowadays a surf band has to be pretty damn special to attract my attention. Molokai are one such band. Emerging not from southern California but from Bitola, Macedonia, they’ve released their second album despite all being a mere nineteen years of age. It comes via their own Predisposed To Oppose label and it’s the best bit of surf guitar to assault my lugholes in many a long year.
Titles like ‘Creepy Heap From The Deep’ ought to grab your attention anyway and even born again surf cynics like me can acknowledge that what lays behind such surface charms more than delivers on its initial promise. Molokai have exactly what a really top drawer instrumental surf band needs: a rhythm section keeping it tight and steady while the guitars let rip to deliver riffs that manage to stay faithful to the idiom yet – and this is what sets them apart – sound like nothing like anything other worthy practitioners of the art like M…oA, Sir Bald Diddley or the Tiki-Men ever unleashed on the world.
Thus, I can confidently play a track like ‘John Travolta in the Castle Revolta’ in my Dandelion Radio show this month secure in the knowledge that I’m not only doing it because I like saying the title. If you want to hear more, and I suggest you do, find it at http://molokaiau.bandcamp.com. Disturbingly, the fact they've put (2011-14) on there suggests this might be the end of their short existence - let's hope not.