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Dumb Loud Hollow Twang - de Luxe

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Album Review

Not many acts that continue for a few albums get a chance to go back and take care of what they might see in retrospect as mistakes or tentative starts. But there are always glorious exceptions — thus, the course of events that led to the Croatian surf-rock quartet the Bambi Molesters re-recording their 1997 debut, Dumb Loud Hollow Twang, in a "Deluxe" edition, with special guests, bonus tracks, and more besides. What might have seemed a quixotic exercise gets explained in the liner notes — Dumb Loud Hollow Twang's original run, though popular in surf-rock obsessive circles, had not resulted in a reprint, while the group's growing popularity resulted in further demand and attention for the album. The bandmembers themselves felt the debut was far too rushed — it was literally recorded in three hours as a one-take rip with instrument leakage and bad mixing ruining the impact — so with more time to spare and a chance to flesh out the sound, the result was 2003's Deluxe. The quartet's command of the surf vernacular is unparalleled — guitarists Dalibor Pavicic and Dinko Tomljanovic have the reverb down and rhythm section Lada and Hrvoje Zaborac shift between mania and mood-out with ease. The guest musicians add just the right touches — keep an ear out for Neven Franges' piano on the late-night menace of "Pearl Divin'," as well as on the smoky Euro-spy vibe of "Sun Stroke" and a trumpet/sax duo on a variety of songs adding some further sting. If the overall effect is pleasantly reverential rather than a striking new reworking of surf and garage roots, it's still a solid result that works beyond being a mere genre exercise. The bonus tracks are all covers, and winners they are — the Molesters' collaborator in the Strange project, Chris Eckman, adds whispering menace to "Restless," the album's sole vocal track. Best song title of the bunch — "Beach Murder Mystery."

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Croatian surf rock revivalists the Bambi Molesters formed in 1995. Operating as tight-knit live unit, they recorded their first album, Dumb Loud Hollow Twang, in only three hours, and not long after their second release (1999’s Intensity), the band was playing arenas, opening for the Cramps, Man or Astro-man?, and R.E.M. 2001’s Sonic Bullets: 13 from the Hip featured guest spots from touring pals including Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), Speedo Martinez (the Flaming Sideburns),...
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Dumb Loud Hollow Twang - de Luxe, Bambi Molesters
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