Simplicity is something I really value in rock & roll and especially surf, and The Abominable Showmen have that down. At a very quick glance you get the message. They've got a fun name that immediately suggests a loud, live sound and an aggressive tone. That's reenforced by the cover art, not just because of the strange beasts etched as if by a villager fearing the beast as a warning, but also the pretty lo-fi imagery on the insert and back cover. I don't know if that was intentional, but it's got that feel of the local group that just sold you a CD for 6 bucks at their show. Doesn't sound professional (it's not) but the key is you would buy those CDs because the show was good. Or you felt guilty.
The opener confirms it all immediately. A harsh, blaring guitar tone reminiscent of The Original Surfaris' "Bombora" rips through with a couple of quick twangy accents. And then a bold move: Not only vocals but an introduction of the band and what they're about. I kinda love it, it does a great job of sticking you right in front of an imaginary stage, and it remains musically interesting as they get wilder and wilder. The rest is all instro.
The album doesn't switch it up much (and for that reason it doesn't stand to consecutive listens well), but they do what they do very well. It's a powerful trio with every member's excellent chops clearly audible. It's fun, it's loud, and it sounds almost exactly as you'd imagine it live. Which is not to say that it sounds like a live album; the production does have some room for improvement with fuller bass, a little more guitar texture, and perhaps letting the drums speak up a little... but that's fine for a second album. For their debut LP, this is a great introduction and broadcasts everything you need to know.
One more thing: I love that I'm starting to hear more covers of Dick Dale's Nitrus. They rarely add anything that Dick's was missing, but I think we'd all agree it's one of his best. This one is pretty similar to Dick's, maybe with a slightly bigger guitar sound, but I still enjoyed it and it fits their sound well.
I bought my copy from Deep Eddy, though you can also order it and hear samples at CDBaby and Amazon.