Among the highlights from 'Surf's Up!' is the thrilling Runaway, which loops electric banjo around growling guitars and phone-box-in-hell vocals. River swells and subsides before bursting its banks in a glorious technicolour deluge of noise. The Beach Boys daunting epic Surf's Up begins sumptuous and gilded, then seems to unwind and unravel in a sonic sleight-of-hand that will leave you breathless. Thomas delivers a vocal so powerfully direct it is quite devastating.
(The cover of Surf's Up, one of the most "feared" of Brian Wilson's compositions for would be coverists, is based on versions from bootlegs of the lost Smile album.)
Surf's Up! is the second studio album from David Thomas and two pale boys but it's the group's fourth release overall. Mirror Man (1999), a live recording featuring the group expanded into David Thomas and pale orchestra, was praised widely and enthusiastically. Mojo called it a "tour de force." 'Meadville,' a live bonus disk included in the David Thomas, Monster (1997) box set, was selected by preeminent rock critic Greil Marcus as his favorite record of the year. The first studio album, Erewhon (1996), is "red-blooded, haunted and literally fantastic," according to a rave in The Wire.
David Thomas and two pale boys:
David Thomas - vocals, melodeon
Keith Molinè - guitar, electronics
Andy Diagram - trumpet, electronics
Paul Hamann played bass guitar on some tracks.
Andy Diagram (trumpet and electronics) is a member of James. He has played in a number of influential groups, including Dislocation Dance, The Diagram Brothers and The Honkies. Currently he leads his own group, Spaceheads.
Keith Molinè (guitar and electronics).refuses to play in rock (or jazz) bands. His approach to music derives from "a careful diet of high-art electronica and low-art prog." He has played in Infidel and as Mesmerist. He is especially enthusiastic about Yes bootlegs. He writes regularly for The Wire.