Written by Elise Olmstead
Surprise Attack, self-described “Mountain Funk” band from Washington DC, just released their first recording, Fire EP, July 16, 2017. The album is dripping with jam juiciness, and does a good job of encapsulating their sound and energy in its tiny 4 track package. Their influences draw heavily from jam bands and jam culture, with a funky twist, creating the atmosphere of an energetic festival set. There is plenty of room for creative improvisation, unexpected solos and time changes, as well as catchy riffs and bouncing bass, to keep you tapping your toes throughout the EP.
The first song, “Red Herring,” begins with the funky playfulness of a Pigeons Playing Ping Pong song, but then takes some unexpected twists and turns into a full on crunchy jam. This song is a good example of the mischievous musical journey the band likes to take the listener on. Shower Songs’ organ, tambourine, and blues-y vocals keep you in the festival mindset, singing “Sing your song like there’s no one listening, ’cause your song might never be heard again.” When I saw the over 7 minute track time for “12:34” I knew this must be another of Surprise Attack’s journeys. The slow crawling beginning makes you wonder what you’re in for, but once the guitar riffs kick in, you can’t stop dancing until the end of the song. This tune includes soulful, funky vocals, lots of tasty licks, and a fun little prog-rock break down thrown in for good measure. The last track “Red Herring (Alternative Version)” is like the first track’s beach bum cousin. Beginning with the sound of beer can opening and a guiro (percussion stick), along with the lilting piano and slow vocals, the last track lets us drift off into the sunset on a pink cloud.
The album is a pleasure to listen to and the band is, I’m sure, even more fun to listen to live. There’s no wonder why they call themselves “Surprise Attack,” their music is anything but boring. Check them out TONIGHT at Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garden in Washington DC, or August 11 at Mason Inn in Washington DC with Two Ton Trapezoid.