In the summer of 1996, I moved into a house in Palo Alto with a surf band called the Aquamen. We watched Endless Summer often and called in sick to work, packed up the Galaxy 500, turned on Laika and the Cosmonauts and hit the beach for some surf action. Missoula's The Skurfs capture that same kind of carefree attitude, but with a driving, stormier edge. The re-mastered instrumental album Mountain Surf is undoubtedly surf, but it shifts in tone, each song infused with something different: classic garage or angular guitar à la Urge Overkill or psychedelic stoner rock that evokes Wolfmother.
"Daffy" could score a scene in a James Bond flick: the 007 spy traversing the side of a cliff shadowed above by some Russian villain. The soundscape creates a dynamic narrative that could do well with visual art (an Andy Smetanka silhouette short would be perfect here). "First Run" is frenetic with intermittent false endings that fade like a record player being powered down. The breakdown almost sounds like a Cars songthe beginning of "You're Just What I Needed"before it hits the gas down a rugged highway of rock.
This is a stellar take on the surf style. The final track, "Jaws/Misirlou," a combo of the two classic songs, illustrates the vibe: This might be a beach party, but something dangerous lurks.
The Skurfs play a re-mastered CD re-release party at The Top Hat Wed., April 25, at 10 PM with Johnny Reno and the Vicemachine. $3.