The Del Toros
Album review of Surfival of the Rockest by Doug Walker.
It’s fun when you start listening to an album and you think you know what you’re gonna get. Then in the first 5 minutes it turns you on your head.
The best way I can quickly summarize this band is to say: “Imagine if the Hellacopters had Link Wray playing lead guitar for them and Bon Scott singing.”
The overall feel of the record is a little on the lo-fi side in the way it’s mixed and mastered. It sounds like a record that could have come out in the 70s with a slight psychedelic feel, which is a good thing considering how overproduced many records tend to be in the day of auto-tune.
There’s exceptional rhythm guitar throughout the entire record, it’s chunky and solid, it stays locked-in completely with the bass and the drums, leaving the lead guitar a huge empty room to fill, which it does with fantastic results. While the rhythm guitar pretty much lives in the land of the shifting bar chord, laying a highway of grit and gravel…the lead guitar hovers off the ground ever so slightly as it leads you down the road. It has heavy spring reverb and plays a very surf-y style. The combination of heavier rock and surf is something I’ve only heard done well a handful of times. The guitar work in this record is simply breathtaking.
The drums and bass effortlessly hold down the fort. I hate to sound like a broken record, but…again there’s just not enough bass present. It’s there, but as much as it’s moving and as important as it is to the overall song, it could have been brought out more to really suck the listener completely in. The bass playing is great. It’s tasteful, and busy at the same time.
The vocals, when they happen, are in the upper tenor, low alto range, much like Bon Scott, but only not quite as mean. There’s a growl to it, but you don’t feel like he is gonna steal everything out of your medicine cabinet and jerk off on your nice hand towels when he excuses himself to the bathroom. The lyric content is personal. The emotion behind the delivery make the vocals very powerful.
All in all, this is really a musicians record. The mixture of styles is done incredibly well, but it’s also very intellectual. It requires attention to pick up on all of it’s subtleties in order to get the full impact of what you’re hearing. This is not light reading material. There are several instrumental tracks, which personally I love, but not everyone is a fan of the instrumental. This is an excellent record if you have the attention span for it. If you want to hear something new, enjoy surf, hard rock, and phenomenal musicianship give this a listen.
You can go check it out here
You can go buy it here when you’re done