Artist: Super Squid

Title: Surf Party

Review by G. W. Hill

Sept. 26, 2012

In many ways, the only method of evaluating this CD is taking it one song at a time. That’s because

there is such a huge difference from one piece to another. Yet, it’s all strong. It’s just very diverse and

adventurous music.

“Super Squid Surf Party” opens the disc with the sound of the sea. Then a female voice rises up and

it takes on a mellow, retro texture. The cut feels a bit like a combination of vintage psychedelic music

and Hawaiian sounds. It’s mellow and multilayered on this first section. Then, around the minute and

a half mark, it powers out into a hard rocking jam that has a lot of garage band psychedelic sound

mixed with punk rock. As it continues there is a shift towards modern progressive rock, but with those

other textures still in place.

There’s a noisy, yet fairly atmospheric sound that opens “Submersive War” Then a riff not that far

removed from The Dead Kennedys comes in to move it forward. They build on that sound with punk

merged with psychedelic and even modern progressive rock. In fact, the cut really has a progressive

rock vibe, but with that harder edge to it. It works out to a melodic movement with female vocals

reinforcing the prog connection. It goes back to the main song section beyond that. There’s a short

classically tinged segment as the cut draws to a close.

“Monsters” is more thoroughly progressive rock, but the drop tuned bass guitar brings an almost

stoner metal sound to the table. It works through several changes and it’s quite a ways in before

there are any vocals. At some points this feels a bit like Marilyn Manson, but there are enough

progressive rock sounds here to keep it quite different from that. Still, it’s heavy. There is a cool

driving instrumental movement later in the piece.

“Moth” comes in tentatively with a short instrumental intro. Then it moves out to some of the most

purely melodic music of the whole set. The female vocals are soaring and this is fairly mellow,

despite the rocking bass line that works underneath it. It has one of the most dynamic and complex

structures of the whole set, and this one clearly fits under the progressive rock banner. Industrial

sounds meet punk and modern progressive rock (and even some metal) on “Ghost Witch.”

Still, the instrumental section is almost all pure progressive rock. It is another that’s quite complex and

it’s also very powerful.

A high energy, but quite prog-oriented jam opens “Des Allemands.” It shifts to something that’s

almost purely hardcore punk from there, though. Still, they keep changing things in the mix and

it lands at different points along the spectrum throughout the ride. They take into a space rock

jam later. “Falling of the Czar” has a rubbery kind of rhythm section and a lot of psychedelic intensity.

It’s high energy and one of the most accessible pieces on show. It works through a number of

changes as it continues and gets rather classically inspired at times. Heavy as it becomes, it’s one

of the most purely progressive rock oriented pieces here. There’s a cool, echoey mellow bass bit

later that eventually takes the song out.

Percussion starts off “Jack’s Johnson.” That percussion grows as it continues. Then about half a

minute in, other instruments join in a rather psychedelic arrangement that’s tasty. As it continues sans

vocals there are lot of progressive rock layers and sounds added to the mix. “Redass” is noisy and

heavy. It seems like a cross between the noisier sounds of modern King Crimson and some

heavy metal. It’s quite short.

“Zacron 3” opens with modern metallic progressive rock sounds. At times there are some fusion-like

elements. Then other sections seem to combine early Black Sabbath with modern progressive rock.

More extreme metal sounds are heard elsewhere. It’s a diverse track with a lot of different things

happening. It’s also one of the highlights of the set. Bouncy, playful and strange, “Wom Tates” is

very intriguing, too. There’s a noisy folk rock sound to “Layla” and yet some weird soloing later brings

in progressive rock. It’s one of the stranger cuts on the set. The instrumental that closes the set,

“Samba Classico” is another highlight. The cut seems to combine classical music with progressive

rock and even spaghetti western soundtrack music to create something very special.

While it’s likely that not everything here will appeal equally to every listener, those with an interest

in creative, experimental music that breaks out of boundaries will really enjoy this. It’s often strange,

sometimes abrasive, but always interesting.

Rating: 4 and a half stars (out of 5)

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