Head Shrinkin' Fun (Zombie A Go-Go Records)
By: Alex Steininger
Emerging from the Southern California surf scene in the summer of 1994, The Bomboras play a blend of classic surf and garage/trash-rock. Highly motivating, their songs burn and steam with energy throughout the fifteen tracks on this disc.
Possessing a fierce percussion section, "Land of the One Percenters" has no fears as it rampages through a tight, two-minute time frame to kick off the album. Stinging guitars help put the surf right in front of you, while the organ blazes a trail for the rest of the band to follow. A nice warm up for the rest of the album, as well as a taste of what you're in store for.
"Project Zero" takes you away to a 60's beach party, centrally located under the bright California sun. Beach bunnies running all around, with their guys riding the ten-foot high waves in the crisp, blue ocean. As you sit there and think about all the surf movies you've ever seen, or the actual experiences you've had, the Bomboras are cranking out the soundtrack for your thoughts. This time around, the guitars nearly take total control. All the while, the rhythm section sirens off, giving the song the muscles it needs to really make an impact in the listeners mind. Hey, there is an organ too, which always helps solidify the sound and bring it all together.
Usually sticking with instrumentals, "Run and Hide" gives the Bomboras' surf sound a face life when they add some vocals. Instead of dancing around with the music and absorbing the flavor of everything, they give you a chance to bop and sing along. The vocals have a nice bite to them, giving you everything you need to really get into the music. Bashing it out in energetic fashion is one thing, but when you bring the vocals into the song you change the game. Changing it for the better, they leave you with a feeling of wanting more.
Although "Hot Line" doesn't offer more of the vocals that made "Run and Hide" so good, the sharp guitars, moonlit organ, and the searing rhythm section do make up for it. More surf music that will take you on a mental trip while working your hips and knees, the spicy feel of this song will shoot right through you (in a delightful way).
Adding a tiny bit of a swing beat to the beginning via the percussion, "Swingin' on Pier 13" helps shake things up a bit. Starting out slow and gradually speeding up, the song may not pack a fierce punch like some other tracks on this disc, but the warm, inviting feel does spread and rub off on the listener.
Ending with "(You've Got To) Get In Line," The Bomboras' decide to go out with some vocal-oriented surf music. More gruff vocals lead the way through surf beats, enchanting the listener with their awkward feel. The vocals feel as if they don't belong in the music, probably because so many of the songs are instrumentals, but by the time the song reaches the midway point this works in its advantage. Organ-driven, and always packed with plenty of percussion, the band has no problem putting the listener 'in line.'
The (fairly) new Zombie A Go-Go Records seems to have scored a winner with these Southern Cali surf devils. These guys know how to start a party and maintain it into the wee hours of the morning, so don't be shy to get into the music once it starts to blare. I'll give this disc an A-.