Pop/Rock  •  Rock & Roll/Roots

Surf Revival

Surf revival was a small indie-label phenomenon featuring chiefly instrumental bands who were dedicated to recreating the twangy, echo-drenched sound of '60s surf guitar. Some bands used the sound to create a mysterious atmosphere, but more often than not, surf revival didn't quite play it straight, adding campy humor and kitschy references to '50s and early-'60s pop culture (for example, the scores of sci-fi, horror, and Western films). Many surf revival bands had better chops on their instruments than their predecessors, and could thus play their music at breakneck punk-rock speeds if they chose (usually with a knowing wink). Surf revival first appeared at the tail end of the '80s and continued on through the '90s; its biggest artists included Man or Astro-Man?, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Laika & the Cosmonauts, and the Mermen.