The Coffin Daggers - Eleki Album

The Coffin Daggers - Eleki Album

The fourth LP from Coffin Daggers is perhaps a bigger turn than having a google-eyed bongo-playing demon on the cover: it's a cover record! Of eleki tunes! For those unacquainted, Eleki is a Japanese instrumental rock & roll music, highly Ventures influenced, typically with very sharp, staccato guitar tones. Admittedly, Eleki is a bit of a weak point in my instro knowledge -- I always kind of hoped I'd go to Japan and blindly buy anything that vaguely fit the bill and learn from there -- but generally good starting points are Takeshi Terauchi and Yuzo Kayama.

The songs represented here are mostly outside my wheelhouse, though you do get a few gimmes like "Black Sand Beach" and The Ventures' "Ginza Lights". So while I can't directly compare these songs, I'll still take a stab at what Coffin Daggers bring to the table here. What you might expect is to hear these songs with that same deafeningly loud tone that roars through their debut record. To some extent, that's there -- these renditions have a lot more of a serrated edge than the thwack-thwack-thwack you typically hear from Eleki. But what I found surprising is that it actually doesn't feel that far off from eleki. This is undoubtedly a tribute to the music, not a reinterpretation. It does sound like a Coffin Daggers record, but if anything it draws attention to the fact that there's more to Coffin Daggers than just amplitude. There's a great attention to sonic detail, using the right pedals and effects when most necessary to bring out the soul of the song. Sometimes it really does sound like a shoutingly loud song, sometimes the keyboard brings out a more playful feeling, and I really like the Japan-meets-Link-Wray sound of "Monkey Crazy"

Speaking of attention to detail, I've heard this album on vinyl and digital (their label appears to be sending promos to radio stations! Like non-surf bands do!) and while it's still a lot of fun in digital format, they proudly record to analog tape and analog vinyl is absolutely the way to go. It really jumps out!

CDs, vinyl and digital download available through their bandcamp

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