steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Ramblin' Ambassadors

"Avanti" CD

Mint Records

Genres: Southern rock, instrumental guitar rock, surf revival

Mint Records
PO Box 3613
Vancouver, BC
V6B 2Y6

Jan 12 - 18 2004

Instrumental guitar rock.  What a specialized genre you are.  From the original romps of The Shadows and The Ventures to modern day revivalists like Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet and Huevos Rancheros (the latter of which is also on the Ambassadors' label, Mint Records), it's been one of the most ignored and overlooked musical styles of all time, second only to bubblegum pop.

Like Huevos Rancheros, the Ambassadors utilize a very Southern-influenced approach to their songs, but they also add a bit more surf (Ventures, Chantays) to the mix.  The songs are actually very catchy and immensely listenable, remarkably 'cool' and worthy of a nice, big audience of surf-hooked hipsters.  Take the "Telstar"/"Wipeout"/"Lone Ranger" hooks of "Hawgtied," for example - it could be Avanti's best song, and that's saying a lot.  "Theme From 'The Ramblin' Bastards'" and slower number "The Hairless Cat" are also highlights on this disc; the latter, actually, touches on Ennio Morricone territory.  "Sixty Seconds to What?" also impresses, dabbling in Western soundtrack influences (it's a Morricone cover), while "Lungbucket" is pure raunchy fun.

It doesn't matter if you like instrumental rock or not, you gotta love AvantiThe Ramblin' Ambassadors are the best thing to happen to instrumental music since Huevos Rancheros first hit the scene.  Dig it.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]