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Supertones, The: Unknown And Other Hits From Outer Space

Surf rock has been making a comeback in recent years and New York City band The Supertones have been instrumental to the genre, releasing twelve albums since their formation in 1988 including their latest endeavour titled Unknown And Other Hits From Outer Space.

The disc consists of sixteen short and concise tracks with a total running time of forty-six minutes. Songs like the album opening “Unknown” with its liquid underwater guitar sound and the catchy “Antaris”, where the chords bear a resemblance to “House Of The Rising Sun” (not a rip-off by any means) are worthy of your time. A couple of Bowie covers; “Starman” and “Space Oddity” are great choices, both lending well to the band’s skillful surf guitar touches while keeping the classic melodies true to form.

Unknown And Other Hits From Outer Space is an instrumental album that the band somehow manages to keep interesting despite the lack of lyrics. Not an easy feat for any rock oriented band.

In the band are:
Timothy Connor Sullivan (Fender jazzmaster, Fender bass VI)
Thomas Mattioli (drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba, keyboards)
Simon Chardiet (bass guitar, 12 string bass)
Seth Lipscher (Fender jaguar)

Track Listing:
1. Unknown (2:35)
2. Antaris (4:00)
3. Balazar (3:25)
4. Saturn Express (2:46)
5. Starman (3:32)
6. Torque Wrench (2:38)
7. For A Few Dollars More (2:32)
8. Shanghai Surf (2:43)
9. Speed Trap (2:13)
10. Space Oddity (4:00)
11. Down The Rabbit Hole (2:57)
12. Back Pedaling (3:15)
13. Don’t Look Up (1:57)
14. Hijinx (2:21)
15. Queso Grande (2:18)

Added: April 5th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band @ Facebook
Hits: 575
Language: english

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Supertones, The: Unknown And Other Hits From Outer Space
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-04-05 22:20:00
My Score:

For me the merest hint of surf rock immediately takes you to sunnier, happier times, where the sand singes the soles of your feet and where the glistening water beckons you in to cool off from the beaming rays of the solar ball in the sky. Hence it’s something of an adjustment to find The Supertones taking things much easier than that as they employ a laid back vibe to their surf sounds. That said every style has its flip side and settling in with the mid-paced glide of “Shanghai Surf” proves a great deal of fun, while the more uptempo “Speed Trap” is equally as intoxicating.

A sprinkling of covers adds to the mood and it has to be said that the two Bowie numbers, “Starman” and Space Oddity” are translated to the surf in fine style, while the Ennio Morricone spaghetti western theme, “For A Few Dollars More”, is an inspired reinterpretation. However, as an experience from song one through to track fifteen, things are maybe too one paced, maybe a little too maudlin and just ever so slightly uneventful.

That said, the loose similarity between “Antaris” and The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” and also between the xylophone parts in “Hijinx” and, rather unexpectedly, Vangelis’s “Chariots Of Fire” theme, keeps you on your toes on an album that’s undoubtedly a labour of love. I can’t, hand on heart, call this essential stuff, with my enjoyment coming more from the excellent performances than the actual music itself. However, if surf’s your thing and a change of pace sounds intriguing, then this might be right up your beach.

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