Italy has a great amount of coastline, but it's probably not one of the first places you consider when it comes to surf music. On the new album Swell of Dwell Surfer Joe shows that Italians are as capable as anyone at making instrumental surf music.
The album begins with "Roller Coaster". The guitar in this song is muted, but it has the classic instrumental-surf sound. Meanwhile, the bass gives it the feel of a song from a black and white spy movie. It's not the most uptempo song, but it sure is groovy. Even if you're indoors, you'll be tempted to put on sunglasses when you hear this one.
If you're looking for an uptempo tune, "A-Frame" is a song you'll enjoy. Surfer Joe really shows off his chops with riffs that are reminiscent of Dick Dale. The beat might not be the most complex one you'll ever hear, but it really drives the song along even if the uptempo guitar part is more noticeable. This is the perfect soundtrack for a drive to the beach.
"Ampullae of Lorenzini" is a song that is hard to resist - especially if you're someone who appreciates a density of notes in a song. About 45 seconds in, he lays down some rapid picking that is pretty impressive. He does it again in the last 40 seconds. That being said, do yourself a favor and turn up the bass level during this one. The bass line makes it impossible to remain still.
"Pipelines" is an interesting song. It opens with a riff similar to that at the beginning of "Tequila" by The Champs. After that is another impressive display that makes you wonder just how Surfer Joe is able to pick so quickly. This sounds like the kind of song that might have appeared in an episode of the original Hawai'i 5-0.
This album has everything you could want in an instrumental-surf album: great guitar work with plenty of reverb, and rhythms that will have you grooving. Beyond that is the fact that this album is like a 28-minute vacation to a sunny beach that is best enjoyed with a rum drink in your hand. Swell of Dwell will be available everywhere on July 13. If you like what you hear from this artist, Surfer Joe will be part of the Surf Guitar 101 festival at Alpine Village in Torrance on Aug. 4.