It’s still cold as hell, so what better time to pull out a disc of French surf music? Bourdeaux’s threesome the Sunmakers provide beaucoup reverb and high-speed drumwork with their debut disc Viens Twister ce Soir (Violent Lovers Records), and it couldn’t come at a better time. Mixing revved up twist music and rockabilly with beach-y instrumentals, these retro soundsters run the gamut from Dick Dale and Link Wray to Radio Birdman and the Rezillos. You know you’re in for a real cool time when the first sounds coming through your speakers are a roaring engine followed by echoey electric guitar, head Sunmaker Billy Dorado clipping out lyrics in heavily accented English that at first sounds like some strange chant (“omm ah stah far”) only to ultimately clarify as “I’m a star fire.”
From there it’s onto a pure instrumental (“Le Rail du Judgment Dernier”) followed by a twist number sung in French. The trio energetically shifts through a continuum of pre-Beatles rock sounds with loads of instrumental snap: whether it’s engaging in sinister Duane Eddy-esque sounds over a cackling invite to “Welcome to the Surfing Horror Show” or zipping to a rockabilly paean to a gal with “Crazy Legs.” If lead Dorado lacks the vocal largesse of the Beach Boys — or even Jan and Dean — his instrumental support is so strong that you can readily imaging this stuff coming out of a tinny transistor on the French Riviera as leggy babes in bikinis swivel the night away. Bassist Dolly Sunmaker, it should be noted, has an appealing Fay Fife chirpiness on her one lead track (“Yakitori”) that makes you wish she’d been given more vocal work on this debut release. Maybe next time.
Boss sounds, in sum, even if your high school French isn’t capable of translating anything deeper than “Je twiste!” So let’s all twist again like we did last été.