The Aqua Velvets

The Aqua Velvets

Radio Waves

Milan Entertainment

Ah, The Aqua Velvets – crisp and refreshing, a bracing tonic to sloppy musicianship and half formed musical ideas! Nearly two generations after the minimalist surf guitar sound rolled ashore in the great musical set called the ’60s, modern musicians comb the beach picking out the timeless and discarding the rusty beer cans of musical style. The Aqua Velvets have grasped the old Dick Daleness of the guitar and drum and polished it to concert hall perfection. The two-disc set Radio Waves holds over two dozen timeless instrumental tunes, recorded with a grace and precision that far exceed the expectations you have for a disc made from live radio station performances. Not only is the sound unencumbered with any ambient noise; there is precious little DJ patter to stand in the way of the music. It’s sort of like a live “greatest hits” album made by a decent recording engineer and a sober band.

Like any classical art form, the majority of songs are predetermined, such as “Walk Don’t Run,” “Apache,” and “Pipeline.” But unlike opera, new material is allowed in, and my sunburnt ears picked out the relaxed “Spanish Blue” and even a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Are there any songs that wouldn’t sound good in this genre? Wagner, perhaps, or Johnny Cash? I suspect the AVs would do proud by just about anything with a humable melody, the sound is that adaptable and the musicians that skilled. Whether you need tunes for your next pool party or Bar Mitzvah, or just some pleasant recollections of your long board days, The Aqua Velvets stand high on the dunes of intellectual pop.

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