Monday, December 17, 2007


Mesa, 1996; available

7 tracks, 34:56

Reinventing surf rock probably sounds like a dead prospect. The Mermen put that idea to rest with flying colors on this EP/mini-album. The trio of bassist Allen Whitman, drummer Martyn Jones, and guitar wizard Jim Thomas crafted seven perfect tracks combining classic instrumental surf guitar, psychedelic experimentation, and an impeccable rhythm section. Opening track "Curve" lets you know right away that this isn't your standard genre revival. Waves of reverb collide with the swinging rhythms and loping basslines, all with just the right touch of experimentation. As an opening salvo, it's remarkable. Major highlight number two is the closing suite of "Brain Wash". Consisting of four short tracks ("What Am I Always Waiting For?", "A Kiss", "Rumination", "I Of The Moo"), none of which feature drumming, "Brain Wash" showcases the Mermen's purely psychedelic side. "I of The Moo" wouldn't sound out of place on an ambient compilation, while "A Kiss" could fit snugly alongside the neo-space rock of Flying Saucer Attack and Hood. In between these two masterpieces are four equally stunning should-be classics (and one forty second intro). While some may cite A GLORIOUS LETHAL EUPHORIA as the Mermen's shining glory, that album was nearly seventy-five minutes, and as good as it was, some of the tracks were most definitely filler. SONGS OF THE COWS is a nonstop great listen, without a single duff track. Even the intro has its merits!

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