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Review: Thee Tsunamis' 'Delirium and Dark Waters'


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  • Thee Tsunamis

Betsy, Josie and Sharlene Tsunami might be far from the beautiful ocean coasts, but you can be damn sure this rippin' Central Indiana trio aren't letting a landlocked locale foil their fun. Yeah, they can't surf, but what's that mean to you? With one listen, Thee Tsunamis' mesmerizing waves of fuzz will not only cast a spell on your inner rock 'n' roll soul, they will bury you in gnarly beach muck, making you totally forget the nearest shoreline is hundreds of miles away.

The follow-up to 2013's A Goodbad Man is Hard to Find finds Thee Tsunamis teamed up with Bloomington's Magnetic South Recordings once more for their Delirium and Dark Waters EP. Continuing down a similar path of muddy reverb and "sonic wreckage," Betsy's Mustang, Josie's Univox, and Sharlene's bongo beats yet again prove infectious on this 2014 gem.

On a "chill September night" last year, John Dawson, Magnetic South co-owner and engineer extraordinaire, welcomed the trio back to the label's subterranean kitchen studio for another round of recordings. Mentioned by Jordan Martich in his cover story on the cassette label back in December 2013, Magnetic South works "within the limitations of their available equipment, including vintage studio treasures like an Echoplex, a plate reverb system." By doing this, Dawson and company "have been able to produce remarkable albums which have established a signature sound of hazy, lo - fi brilliance for the studio." As expected, this is the case with Delirium and Dark Waters.

When the needle drops on this transparent green 7", the thick vibrations of Josie Tsunami's bass welcome the listener into the trio's "Haunted House," the release's impressive first track. "You ain't seen real evil until you've taken a tour of my haunted house," yelps a vicious Betsy, tearing through the track with the crunchy twang of her guitar. And buried below, echoes of her reverbed vocals gust violently, showcasing the studio prowess of the dudes at Magnetic South.

The trio ventures into a slimier side of surf rock on "Down at the Swamp," as Josie professes her love for a 9-foot tall swamp monster. "He's 9-foot tall, I'm tiny under him / He's monstrous, but gives me such a thrill," she sings overtop of a twangy guitar hook that sounds like it came straight out of a rugged saloon. On "Spellcaster Lounge," the trio saunters onward, continuing down the gritty surf rock trail they so fiendishly blazed in the EP's first two tracks. After a series of ass-shaking verse/choruses, Betsy's Mustang breaks loose on a soloing rampage of gnarly psych goodness, enchanting ears with its freakish psych rock ferocity.

Capping off this impressive four-song collection of swampy surf twang is "Psycho." Reminiscent of The Sonics in its raw psych power, Delirium's closing track is the standout from the EP, capturing Betsy, Josie and Sharlene in their turbulent prime. Bursting from the seams with rugged hooks, the song's clever, yet simple, themes are irresistibly hypnotizing, encapsulating this landlocked trio's mystifying charm. 


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