If 1963’s ‘Misirlou’ still makes your speakers quake (quite possibly due to 1994’s Pulp Fiction), then your inner Tarantino may be ready to form a true romance with Bristol’s Captain Süün. Front man and chief songwriter, Dan Dale, may not be a descendant of the King of Surf Rock, Dick Dale, but they share much in verve and spirit. For a band that only formed towards the end of 2016, their first EP release on Stolen Body Records, Beach Burrito, is by no means the work of a quartet finding its feet.
Label mates of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Captain Süün have a similar ability to go from slow-hand sleight, through to the sonorous frenzy of a guitarmalite shoot-out within the course of one song. Don’t be deceived by the apparent metal umlauts either, as fashioned by Mötorhead and requisitioned by Mötley Crüe; Beach Burrito shows how the band can roll up some slow slacker-surf-psych of the most potent kind.
Track three, ‘Amber,’ gets up the earliest and reserves the best sun loungers, narrowly outsmarting the title track for pride of place. Beginning with a ‘Leader of the Pack’ drum beat, a guitar line overlays that ought to be the prelude to a Western gunslinger’s portentous arrival. It has a powerful, brooding simplicity at times, to the extent you could become mesmerised by the sparse strum and kick drum combo, as well as the Nick Cave-like vocals, before a gloriously soaring guitar break. It’s basically the rebellious, cooler nephew of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ and its instruction to Amber to “Cool it down,” couldn’t be delivered any more coolly.
You’ll struggle not to pretend to be cresting a wave on your board during the title track, ‘Beach Burrito.’ Mellow waves precede a sustained, fuzzed thrash. Possibilities are manifold here for being ‘that guy’ in a queue of traffic that’s giving it the full Wayne’s World or playing some epic steering wheel drums, as the long, slow headbang builds through the second half of the song. The central metaphor, “I’m a beach burrito,” could lead you down many avenues of meaning; it must have something to do with having the munchies, though, surely.
Opener, ‘Skyline’ will immediately feed into lovers of the goth/glam/garage ruckus served up by Table Scraps earlier in the year. Musically you just need to imagine the sound of Ty Segall and the Muggers in an altercation with The Jesus and Mary Chain over a spilled pint, with Disintegration-era The Cure in the background shouting, “Oi! Leave it out,” and you’re there. The swirling guitar vortex at the height of this imaginary barney adds plenty of flowered-up shoegazey swoon. Just to add an extra 90s flavour, closer ‘In Your Mind Mankind)’ has the playful feel of a slightly rough-and-ready Charlatans.
Captain Süün sounds like a character who might give our heroes a hard time on Star Trek. If this is their first major voyage into the vinyl frontier, it’s exciting to imagine where they might boldly go next.
Beach Burrito is out now through Stolen Body Records.