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Dead Surf Kiss (DSK) [reviews]
Exploder! |Divine Industries, 1996|

1. Land Mine, 2. Fingered, 3. Cement Head, 4. Butt, 5. Units, 6. Whine, 7. Targets, 8. Shiny, 9. Knife, 10. Money, 11. Superhero, 12. Snore Snore - Asterix

DSK is an interesting Canadian band that found their upstart in the 90s. They dabbled in a variety of music styles between Noise Rock, Industrial Rock, and Terrorizing Punk. Born from the ashes of Dead Surf Kiss, which after the fairly good but slightly repetitive and carachterless debut album "Narcotic Nevada" (produced by David Ogilvie in 1991) changed 3/4 of the line-up, and gave welcome to Blair Dobson (formerly of Numb) to front the vocals & song-writing... He was exactly what was missing in this band to compose an excellent album, since he has character and a stunning voice to sell.

The rest of the band includes Dave Genn (Guitars), Rich Priske (Bass), both whom are members of The Matthew Good Band, Pat Sprawl (Guitar; Pat is very well known by Skinny Puppy fans, since he played the guitar on the masterpiece - "The Process" and in a couple of more recent songs. It must also be noted that he played with Drown and Sister Machine Gun), Brad McGiveron (Drums) and Glen Murray (Bass) were both formerly of Twenty Four Gone.

Exploder! was published by Divine Industries; a label from Vancouver B.C. that also published the Anthology/Chronolgy of the cult synth-pop band Images In Vogue; With surprise I found in the jewel case a 3 Divine Dollars banknote! Complete with stamp... This is redeemable currency within the Realm of Divine Industries! ...I'll ask to my bank if this banknote is worth something... You never know in such economic crisis times... speculation :)

Jokes aside, the album artwork, designed by Dobson, is a perfect portrait of their music: fiery, fast (about 40 minutes) and explosive; The 12 songs reflect influences by prominent bands such as Tool, Rage Against The Machine, and the music genres of Punk and Industrial Rock, resulting in something pleasant every time I listen thanks to their rich melodic nuances.

"Landmire" is worthy to be labeled as inspired Jane's Addiction, and this comparison is not accidental, Blair Dobson's voice is so shrieking and scratchy that it reminds me Perry Farrell.
"Fingerehead", with its good rock 'n roll accompaniments guides us to what is probably one of their best songs: "Cementhead", an excellent and very catchy hit (just as only Richard Patrick can write), in which Dobson doses the listener with some of his healthy madness and sarcasm (for the record: Faber Dive, a Canadian Rock band, made a dreadful "Cementhead" cover...beware).
Take a deep breath because "Butt" is a powerful punk rock song, and "Units" gives us one of the best "noisy" moments of the album (after minute 1:40); This song is another example of Dobson's inimitable, peppery mockery.

"Whine" slides between thundering guitars and textured shouts that is a pleasure to the ear.
The seventh song, "Targets", is another good song... direct and powerful; It engages in a recognizable usage of the chorus from "Dead Inside"(from "Christmeister" by Numb) in the song.
"Shiny" sounds like a joint venture between Primus and Infectious Grooves (Cyco Miko's side project) with an excellent result, while "Knife" is exceptional with its refrain and irresistible guitar riffs.

Listening to this album, I've had the sensation that it would be perfect as a soundtrack for snowboarding, skateboarding or other extreme sports... and "Money" is the proof: take a look at what i've found on YouTube.

"Superhero" evolves from an intro sounding very close to the "TV Sky" album by The Young Gods (also the Dead Surf Kiss debut album has some similarities with this swiss band) that lead into guitars that remind us of Rage Against The Machine, particularly their hit "Know Your Enemy".
"Snore Snore - Asterix" is an epic album ending track... like Led Zeppelin playing Grunge.

It's a fun, zippy, and very Rock'n'Roll album (playing and listening it live must be a mind-blogging) serving up great music to get your blood pumpin'. Another gem of the 90s that deserves a good listen, but unfortunately leaves us with a bitter taste... after this album there were no more official releases from this band. It's a pity, because the gearshift led by Dobson in this endeavour introduced some extremely interesting musical sounds.

(Marco Gariboldi. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens)

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