April 2015 National Album Reviews

Review: Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake – Modern Surf Classics

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Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake 
Modern Surf Classics 
Swami Records
Street: 02.03
Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake = The Ventures + The Gorgons + Link Wray
 
This modern surf supergroup is a collaboration between San Diego’s rock god John Reis (Rocket From The Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, Night Marchers) and a group of heavily reverbed garage rockers from Minnesota called the Blind Shake. Though the upper Midwest isn’t really known for its boss waves, Reis brings enough southern California spirit into the mix to make it work. The aggressive, distorted surf guitar licks are peppered with blaring saxophone melodies and are punctuated with occasional, shouted lyrics. Some of the guitar-heavy songs owe a lot to the Middle Eastern leanings of surf guitar legend Dick Dale, and others seem to take the genre in an entirely new and different direction. It is rough and frantic and yet insanely listenable. In all, this is a solid debut record from a talented bunch of guys that listeners can only pray will continue to record and release music. –James Bennett
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