BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
What to make a guitarist who refers to herself as Susan SurfTone and boldly helms a namesake band through an agile blend of skill and swagger? Considering the unfettered ferocity borne by her group’s garage band dynamic, it seems no explanation is necessary. On her new album Too Far, her prowess is beyond reproach.
Of course, the annals of rock ‘n’ roll are littered with assertive front men and women who pitch attitude as a substitute for aptitude. And given her proficiency for recreating a classic surf sound, Susan might have been forgiven had she chosen to pout and posture. Happily though she proves her mettle on songs such as “Start Again,” “Chelsea Twist” and “Too Far,” each of which is a showcase for her searing fretwork and the taut, steady rhythms of her able ensemble. All the tracks are entirely instrumental, and though there’s a certain sameness to the sound, the use of Theremin on “Steve Dallas” and some telecaster twang with “What a Shame’ allows specific selections to stand out.
Susan’s style is likely best served in concert where a true dynamic can be measured by her presence as well as her precision. For now however, Too Far goes just far enough.
DOWNLOAD: “Start Again,” “Steve Dallas,” “What a Shame”