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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 21 - 07/09/98

The Beat Tornados
Pole Position
Amigo

It's summer, it's sunny (well, not too much around here yet...) and it's time for surf. Even in Norway! Here is a mini CD-album of eight instrumental surf-tunes, or early 1960s guitar-tunes if you prefer. Dick Dale is the big hero, followed by the Shadows, I suspect. To me, a non-surf expert by far, it seems that guitarists extraordinaire such as Eddie Cochran (Summertime Blues etc.), Duane Eddy (Peter Gunn etc.) and Pete Townshend (the intro of the Who's Pinball Wizard at least) are lurking in the background here as well.

Right then, what do we get? Three self-made tunes in the Dick Dale tradition, three melodies based on Norwegian folk-melodies performed the way Norwegian beat-bands of the 1960s played them, one soft-surf with a Pacific twist and one beat-classic (I guess) called The Cruel Sea (what a surf title!) by one M. Maxfield. (Could that be Mike Maxfield of Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas?)

The Beat Tornados seem to be fairly faithful to the genre, but with some modern and unusual elements as well. Their own Throttleman has a calm break with some electronic space effects, sounding like a slide-synth if you ask me. The title track has a certain country feel in between and Reinlender (a traditional Norwegian dance) is enlivened by a jew's harp. And Oppå Fjellet (In The Mountains, that is, and far from sandy beaches) seems to involve some balalaika and vodka influences. It's the instant favourite and the party killer of the lot. Kon Tiki stands out because it's calm and sliding as hell with a steel lap or Hawaii guitar, a classic Shadows track, isn't it?

The four young (or maybe not quite that young) men of the Beat Tornados, all dressed in brightly coloured Hawaii shirts, have hit the strings rightly with Pole Position. The beat and the solo guitar are steady as rock can be. They seem to cover most corners of the surf genre and throw in quite a few new and Norwegian elements for good measure, too. A full-length album of instrumental surf would certainly have been too much for me. Eight tracks in 20 minutes is as close to perfection as can be.

The Tornados might be contacted through Geir Emanuelsen at amigo@it-systemer.no.

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You may also want to check out our Beat Tornados article/review: Scandinavian Interlude.

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