Listen: 'On the Edge of a Dream'
In the wake of Damien Lovelock’s recent death much commentary flowed towards the concept of ‘surf music’, a genre the Celibate Rifles were undoubtedly a part of. Not a category you’d ever see indexed at the record store, or on iTunes, or Spotify, or wherever you access music these days, but the concept has always existed.
From cheeseball beginnings with the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, to ‘Harvest’ era Neil Young, and here in Australia, Radio Birdman, Sunnyboys, The Hellmenn, and The Riptides all contributed to the genus, while more recently there’s been The Beautiful Girls, Ocean Alley, and the Goons of Doom.
A wide mix of styles, no? That’s ‘cos the genre always had more to do with who was listening than who was playing. Yet the surf music label is becoming increasingly meaningless. The problem nowadays is that everybody surfs, not just young restive blokes, so the idea of surf music is so broad as to be pointless.
A new idea of surf music is required. I’m gonna propose we be a bit more rigorous in our interpretation, just a way of flying the colours, of keeping the imposters at bay, and I’m putting forward the soundtrack to ‘On The Edge of a Dream’ as the new template. It’s a contribution to surf culture that outsiders will never understand.
‘On The Edge…’ came out earlier this year and the whole project was an exercise in artistic involvement. Of exploring surfboard design, specifically Edge design, through various mediums: film, essay, poetry, and music, with a leitmotif that runs through all of them: “You gotta beat that feeling of terminal velocity.”
The search for velocity doesn’t extend to tempo with sprawling garage rock filling most of the tracks, slowing occasionally for evocation, with the whole thing building to a Crazy Horse-style electric pile on in ‘Surf Song Sally’ courtesy of Area Pin - the ultimate band name for insider surf music.