Although the Arquettes hail from North Carolina, their sound is inspired by great '60s California instrumental surf bands like the Pyramids, the Belairs, and, in particular, the Chantays. Like other modern exponents of this style such as the Mermen, Pell Mell, and Los Straightjackets, the Arquettes infuse their surf with current stylistic influences such as punk, indie rock, and soundtrack music, but somehow manage to sound more authentic than their contemporaries. Virtually every song on the disc could be mistaken for some great, lost classic from the pre-Beatles endless summer, albeit with a much greater emphasis on harmonic variety and less dependence on the blues. In fact, the Arquettes generally write better songs than those who inspired them, with a special affinity for the wistful, lonely, minor key, suspended chord sounds characterized by standards like "Pipeline" and the Ventures' In Space album. In addition, the tunes are all played with the perfect surf combination of energy and precision. Very few surf bands in any age have been able to make an entire album that consistently challenges the ear yet remains true to the form, but the Arquettes have accomplished just such a feat. The Arquettes is essential listening for any fan of the surf or instrumental rock genres.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach