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The Breakers — Voodoo Treatment
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, CD / DL)

The Breakers — A Date with Destiny
(Bandcamp no#, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-04-22

Voodoo Treatment Cover artA Date with Destiny Cover art

One look at the cover of The Breaker’s 2020 release Voodoo Treatment and you might suspect this is some kind of death metal or black metal outfit, but like the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, or something like that. The Breakers are the Chicago area instrumental trio of guitarist Jim Abrahams, drummer Marc Lockett, and bassist Jayson Slater, with guests on saxes, cello, additional bass and percussion, track depending. Their sound goes nowhere near those aforementioned genres, or any kind of metal for that matter. In fact what they do could best be described as an aggressive take on psychedelic surf rock informed by a 60s garage punk aesthetic. The fourteen-track Voodoo Treatment is the band’s second full-length album following 2019’s Transmissions from a Hornet Free Environment, and is currently their definitive statement, with the seven song 2021 EP A Date with Destiny being something of a leaner follow-up, but essentially the same stylistically. The earlier release starts out with an interesting spoken narrative “Wrong Side of the Tracks,” about rowdy and troubled kids, sounding curiously like a Rod Serling Twilight Zone intro — and it’s the last time you’ll hear a voice on either of these two albums — from that point forward it’s pure rock music with a definite 60s twist. With the whammy bar firmly in hand, Abrahams leads the band through a forty-odd minute set that combines that surfy flavor with a determined rocking edge that will take the listener back in time. The songs have no lyrics, so they all fit comfortably in the two-to-four minute range and never overstay their welcome. “Astral Valley” is one of the standouts, leaning toward the psychedelic, reminiscent of the Amboy Dukes’ “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” while the title track with its heavy bass and cello accompaniment almost sports a Turkish flavor. The appropriately titled “Wave Train” is pure 60s surf-rock, something that might be right at home on any Dick Dale or Ventures album. Moving onward to A Date with Destiny, opener “Sub-Marine Time Machine” makes a persuasive statement for the intense rhythm section, embellished by some way-out lead guitar in the song’s second half. It may be the shortest cut, but “Po’ino” (a slang term for "disaster" in Hawaiian) carries the surf banner high with an almost punk edge. With a total playing time just shy of 24 minutes, the seven tracks included are every bit as convincing as the full length album, and either of these offer ample evidence that 60s style instrumental guitar rock is alive and well in Chicago.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): The Breakers

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