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July 22, 2024

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Laika & The Cosmonauts
Zero Gravity (Upstart Records)

Teisco Del Rey
Plays Music For Lovers (Upstart Records)

By: Gary Pig Gold

Long before "Pulp Fiction" brought Dick Dale home to your VCR, the globe's been soundly littered with Surf Guitar Kings and Princes: Canada's Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet and Surf City's own Untamed Youth spring(-reverb) immediately to mind.

But thanks to those good folk at Upstart, we can all now digitally sample not only Finland's legendary Laika & The Cosmonauts (who, with the notable exception of the blistering "Surfs You Right", play tamer than the afore-mentioned Mr.Dale: Laika's brand of guitaring sounds more Hank B.Marvin than Del-Tone, if ya catch my wave - er, drift ) but also the latest and greatest from that Casanova of the Jazzmaster, Teisco Del Rey (picture Duane Eddy held captive at a Love Boat dancethon).

Both CD's are undeniably party-perfect, and with Teisco especially can keep the nearest guitar-nik arguing the merits of Fender vs. Danelectro deep into the night [psst: it's Fender ALL THE WAY, by the way!] - Mr. Del Rey also earns bonus points for his terrifyingly authentic "Madison Time," which all but screams for a J.Waters-vintage Ricki Lake. The Cosmonauts, however, seem pointedly less whammy-bar-in-cheek in their approach: I guess the surf's seldom up in Helsinki, and consequently, these guys Don't Mess Around.

No matter: both these discs are instrumental at its clangy best. Yes, truly Too Cool For Words!

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