Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Rumble Strip"

Song Title: "Drag Strip"
Artist: Fender Benders
Search Term: "Rumble Strip" [This song is from a compilation entitled Hot Rod Rumble.]

This is just a slice of hot rod rock that doesn't sound any different from any other hot rod rock song of the era. What is hot rod rock, you ask? Here's what Wikipedia has to say: "Hot rod rock is a form of surf music that incorporates instrumental surf rock with car noises (revving engines and screeching tires). From 1963, the Beach Boys began to leave surfing behind as subject matter as Brian Wilson became their major composer and producer, moving on to the more general themes of male adolescence, including cars and girls, in songs like 'Don't Worry Baby' (1964) and 'Little Deuce Coupe' (1963). 'Little Deuce Coupe' has been stated as one of the earliest forms of hard rock with it's series of buzzing beats [sic]."

As this exhaustive and unimpeachably on-topic summary suggests, the Fender Benders' "Drag Strip" is a nondescript surf-rock instrumental that's disrupted from time to time with would-be intimidating car sounds. The performance is fast and fleet--I've seen some information to suggest that Link Wray may in fact be the guitarist here--but if I didn't tell you the title of the track, you could easily think it was a mildly off-model cover of the Surfaris' "Wipe Out": Same blues chord progression, similar drum rolls; just a roaring engine in place of "Wipe Out"'s opening cackle. And it's not like any of us ever needs to hear "Wipe Out" again, let alone its gearhead cousin.

I promise my next post will feature a song that doesn't sound exactly like some better-known song.

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