Monday, July 22, 2013

The Atlantics - The Explosive Sound of The Atlantics (1964)

The Atlantics were Australia's answer to the Shadows and the ubiquitous surf sound widespread in the early sixties. They were, not withstanding, very accomplished musicians which set them apart from other bands of the ilk and held their own in comparison.

Becoming popular along the Northern beaches of Sydney they were signed to CBS and scored a hit with Bombora, the name of a surfing team, which propelled them to national prominence. Remaining as an instrumental group throughout the next two years, and releasing numerous 45s and albums, their popularity waned as the 'beat' invasion sound began to take over. They started to play with many differing styles and record with solo artists to arrest their slide, probably the most interesting effort was their 45, a throbbing punk classic, Come On/You Tell Me Why which featured Johnny Rebb on vocals. As well they recorded an EP at this time I Put A Spell On You, having left CBS for Sunshine. It is an interesting attempt at a psychedelic sound, something that only a few well known Australian bands experimented with at that particular time. Along with the 45 Come On and the EP they are two of the most sought-after recordings by collectors of sixties punk.

In later years the band formed the Ramrod label and studio, concentrating more on songwriting and production, they produced some country-tinged 45s while returning to their roots in the early seventies with an album of previous surf sound hits and some new compositions before calling it a day. There are many compilations available through CBS and Cane Toad which chart their history and are well worth seeking out.

As one would expect some of their songs have been captured on retrospective compilations. You'll find Bombora on Aussie Rock Collection and Nat Young's History Of Australian Surfing, The Boys features on Australian Rock And Roll Stars; The Crusher is also on Aussie Rock Collection and Come On and It's A Hard Life figure on Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of Ugly Things respectively. Finally, Light Shades Of Dark, Part 2 appears on Datura Dreamtime.

Of their retrospective compilations CBS Singles Collection 1963-65 is probably the best. It came with excellent liner notes (courtesy of Steve McParland), good clear sound quality and some superb photos. The Teddy Bears Picnic Stomp was a compilation of cuts from their first three albums and includes a previously unreleased version of War Of The Worlds, the released version of which appeared on The Explosive Sounds Of The Atlantics and The Atlantics Greatest Hits.

(Vernon Joynson / Michael Wilczek)

This is a bit cornball compared to their best stuff -- a few of the numbers are surfizations of standards like "Secret Love," and though most of the material is original, the frequent allusions to folk melodies sometimes make this sound like the kind of surf band you'd find playing in a Greek restaurant. There's plenty of nifty guitar work, though, and only a couple of cuts are on The CBS Singles Collection, making this a nifty supplement to that compilation. The original Australian LP is far harder to find than the German CD reissue, which adds some bonus cuts.

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