It’s been great watching Blackball Bandits find their way from a couple of bandcamp so-called-demos to a proud members of the Double Crown roster (and featured on the soundtrack to a remake of one of my favorite games). They’ve done a great job of retrofitting retro surf feel and attitude to more modern surf song structures.
The Lost Mission is their first full-length and it’s a triumphant one. The first two tracks are a helluva combo, surf and then spaghetti western at at full power. I had actually thought they lost something in their sound production between their demos and their first EP, but this has a subtle atmosphere locked right in to where it needs to be. In fact, there’s a lot of extra whizz-bang going on, be it the always-welcome brass or tastefully integrated sound clips (or in the case of “Mesquite”, delightfully cheesily integrated). While they’re as guitar heavy as you’d expect any surf group to be, everybody noticeably pitches in, sometimes letting the lead guitar lay low for the late-song guitar breakout.
Claiming diversity in songs by stating that they have western, surf, horror and middle-eastern vibes isn’t exactly novel these days, but they do feel genuinely fresh from song to song, with “The Snakecharmer’s Dream” and “The Red Sun” feeling particularly inspired despite hiding in the later end of the record. That diversity lies beyond just tropes too, showing a great ability to write songs that are aesthetically pleasing, cognitively challenging, and hard not to bounce to.
So yeah, they nailed it. Go get it. Grab it from Double Crown or bandcamp bandcamp where you can preorder a vinyl copy.