Bambi Molesters

Dumb Loud Hollow Twang [Deluxe]

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AllMusic Review by

Not many acts that continue for a few albums get a chance to go back and take care of what they might see in retrospect as mistakes or tentative starts. But there are always glorious exceptions -- thus, the course of events that led to the Croatian surf-rock quartet the Bambi Molesters re-recording their 1997 debut, Dumb Loud Hollow Twang, in a "Deluxe" edition, with special guests, bonus tracks, and more besides. What might have seemed a quixotic exercise gets explained in the liner notes -- Dumb Loud Hollow Twang's original run, though popular in surf-rock obsessive circles, had not resulted in a reprint, while the group's growing popularity resulted in further demand and attention for the album. The bandmembers themselves felt the debut was far too rushed -- it was literally recorded in three hours as a one-take rip with instrument leakage and bad mixing ruining the impact -- so with more time to spare and a chance to flesh out the sound, the result was 2003's Deluxe. The quartet's command of the surf vernacular is unparalleled -- guitarists Dalibor Pavicic and Dinko Tomljanovic have the reverb down and rhythm section Lada and Hrvoje Zaborac shift between mania and mood-out with ease. The guest musicians add just the right touches -- keep an ear out for Neven Franges' piano on the late-night menace of "Pearl Divin'," as well as on the smoky Euro-spy vibe of "Sun Stroke" and a trumpet/sax duo on a variety of songs adding some further sting. If the overall effect is pleasantly reverential rather than a striking new reworking of surf and garage roots, it's still a solid result that works beyond being a mere genre exercise. The bonus tracks are all covers, and winners they are -- the Molesters' collaborator in the Strange project, Chris Eckman, adds whispering menace to "Restless," the album's sole vocal track. Best song title of the bunch -- "Beach Murder Mystery."

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