Reviews of The Kustard Kings cd "Blam!"

Press of Atlantic City
Reviewed by Scott Semet

Surf and lounge music just won't seem to go away. Each of these genres exploded onto the chart at inception and then stuck to the back alleys of pop music. Never really retaining a former glory, they have steadfastly adhered to our collective consciousness. Though highly reminiscent of both, this disc doesn't fit into either genre snugly. Just when you think you're enjoying a retro-ish Beach Boys instrumental, a 180 degree turn hits your gut and suddenly, it's funk-boogietime.

To put it simply: this is just good, honest music. From the moment this disc is slapped into your player, until the laser shuts dowen and hibernates, you'll be smiling. There seems to be no other message than, "This sounds cool," an adage the band strictly adheres to from beginning to end.

In addition to the superb originals, two studio-live covers fill out the set. "Jungle Boogie" sounds as groovy as it did 25 years ago, and the original "Spider-Man" theme is enhanced by an "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" intro.

The vocals are kept to a minimum, so if you like your music with crooning, you'll have to look elsewhere. Apart from the occasional "ba-ba-bah's," there really isn't much else. The sign of a good band is the ability to pull off an instrumental. With 11 great ones to choose from, the Kustard Kings, which features former Egg Harbor Township resident Joe McGinty on keyboards, have offered up more than their share.

Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Jason Hoffman

Over a decade ago multi-instrumentalist David Terhune had a dream to create a sound which combined the likes of The Meters and Booker T. & the MGs into a tight pop-surf-lounge sound, a dream surely shared by thousands of young men across the country. But Mr. Terhune did something about it, bringing in a few friends to form The Kustard Kings, a group that has gone on to become the premier house band in New York. Comprised of Joe Katz (The Mumps, The Swinging Madisons) on bass, Clem Waldmann (Blue Man Group) on drums, Kris Woolsey (Cardinal Woolsey, Fountains of Wayne) on guitar and Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs) on Farfisa organ, this was no ordinary group of slackers. Their gig is the Loser's Lounge series where they pay tribute to those artists that have inspired them through the years. With the release of BLAM! those tortured souls unable to acquire tickets are able to get a taste of Terhune's magical mixture. Few bands can pull off an engaging instrumental, but to concoct 11 such beasts and manage to mesmerize the listener through them all simply makes me want to bear his love child.

"Hideko" kicks off the brief 34-minute platter, an energetic blend of surf and lounge with a rhythm section so tight there's not even enough room for an analogy. The only vocals are present on the smiling "The Golden Ram," but even these are the "ba-ba-bahs" of some Turtles song gone horribly awry. The title track begins as a spring-reverb drenched guitar that dances with an organ melody so infectious that even my pasty body was moved to motion. "Vampcamp" features a gritty, gutsy guitar (played with gusto), evoking images of a western showdown at high noon and all the obligatory testosterone flexing. The hyperactive space/surf boogie "Space Nutz" lives up to its name with chirping organs, overdriven guitars and a bouncy bass line, all set to a blues chord progression. Further showing their melodic prowess are the two cover songs, Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie" and "Spiderman". In both instances the Kustard Kings manage to make these familiar songs their own while retaining enough of the original to lure the uninitiated.

With most of the songs around the three-minute mark, these instrumentals rush in, give you a swirly, stick wet fingers in your ears, make derogatory comments about your mother and are gone before you realize they've stolen your underpants. But it's all good fun and you willingly allow the next song to hassle you all over again.