Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


The Breakers — Torch Light
(Bandcamp Sharawaji SRW155, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-12-05

Torch Light Cover art

Whatever constitutes authenticity in the sound of an instrumental surf-rock band, Chicago’s The Breakers has it in abundance. Certainly based on the forebearers of the style — The Ventures, Dick Dale, and any number of others from the early 60s — the trademarks are the catchy syncopated drum fills alongside amazing guitar work drenched in twang and reverb. Oh yeah, and guitarist / primary songwriter Jim Abrahams and drummer Marc Lockett are well schooled in the style, along with bassist Jayson Slater, who together form the core trio of the band. Their style is powerful and direct, a sound that stands strong next to the numerous instrumental guitar-based bands that came before, and even compared to their own previous 2020 releases Voodoo Treatment and the EP A Date with Destiny, the scope and diversity of the new album Torch Light far surpasses even those. But The Breakers aren’t a band that sticks to a rigid three-piece formula, and bring in guest players as needed, track depending, on trumpet, saxes, additional guitars and bass. The set launches with “A Trip through Life,” a cut that exemplifies what the band is all about, as well as being a tune that might well get stuck in your head for days. While Abrahams is the composer of the group, two of the eighteen tracks are in fact covers, and surprising adaptations at that; who would have thought that Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” would translate so well into a guitar instrumental, but there you have it. And the album’s closing track “Egyptian Surf” is definitely a familiar tune, although I’m pressed to to identify who did the original version — it may even be retitled. Other standouts include the melodic surf groove “Escalator for Two” that follows the album’s superb title track, which features some truly strange sonic artifacts, possibly some innovative guitar effects or a theremin. And then there is “Guilty as Charged,” a greasy slab of surf-punk featuring powerful horns and some amazing bass work, while “The Most Trouble I Have Ever Been In” will flat-out kick your butt, another fine example of what The Breakers can do. The album’s shortest track “Never to Be Found” is certainly one of the most melodic, and also underscores the overall diversity of Torch Light.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): The Breakers

More info


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.