Rock music can take on many forms: There’s classic rock, British Invasion rock, punk rock, new wave rock, alternative rock, and many, many other styles. One form of the genre that is mostly overlooked (simply because of the dearth of artists contributing to it) is instrumental rock. Artists like Johnny and the Hurricanes, The Starfires, The Ventures, and Dick Dale once had plenty of company as other bands also created instrumental rock, but now there are fewer and fewer bands creating the music. One such band that is creating their take on instrumental rock is Los Kahunas.
While there aren’t many bands out there in the music world right now that have the desire or talent to compose rock music without using lyrics as part of the song structure, there are still a few bands that have taken it upon themselves to keep instrumental rock alive as a genre. The talent of the musicians in Los Kahunas not only help to create strong songs, it helps the band keep the genre of Surf-Rock alive.
Los Kahunas is a quartet of musicians who call Argentina home. The band makes its home in Buenos Aires where it has made a name for itself by being one of only a handful of bands making surf rock. The band formed in 2004 as lead guitarist Big Papu Castaniero, rhythm guitarist Antonio Carlos, bassist Damian Baldi, and drummer Alexis B came together to make their own version of Surf-Rock.
In 2005, U.S. record label, No Fun Records, saw the talent and potential of the band as they signed Los Kahunas and teamed them up with The Invisible Surfers, a band from Greece. The two bands gained some notoriety as their split-release album, Waves of Reverb, Sea of Fuzz #1, was well received.
In 2007, two years after the split-release with The Invisible Surfers, No Fun Records put out the newest release by Los Kahunas, Otro Reverberante Encuentro Con Los Kahunas. With the split-release having been a good introduction to the band, the new album is a good follow-up.
The band’s newest release, Otro Reverberante Encuentro Con Los Kahunas is an album that is split between band originals written by Big Papu Castaneiro and several cover versions of songs by the likes of The Astronauts, The Lively Ones, and of course, The Ventures. While the band handles the cover tunes with skill, the original songs by the band are what shine on this release. Songs like “6G15” and “California Kustom” bring to mind The Ventures when they were in their peak of popularity. This is not to say that Los Kahunas are a carbon copy of the Ventures, but the parallels are definitely hard to miss.
The next track on the album is “California Kustom”. While there is some reference to The Ventures in this track, this original track finds the band creating a track that would fit right along with other tracks from Dick Dale. In fact, the track would fit alongside Dale’s “Miserlou” smash single from 1962.
The band slows things down on the song “Deeper than the Sea”. The slower track features an approach that helps to create music on the track that contains a certain amount of beauty in the melody. As the listener allows the song to play out, it isn’t difficult to imagine the song being influenced by the likes of Santo and Johnny Farina, of “Sleepwalk” fame.
One of the things you will immediately notice with this album is the pace of the music included in the release. Throughout the albums fourteen tracks, Los Kahunas seems to fly through each of the tracks that make up the band’s 2007 album Otro Reverberante Encuentro Con Los Kahunas.
While the instrumental rock album has almost become a thing of the past, it is always nice to find that, with bands that like to compose music without worrying about lyrics, it is not a complete lost art. And bands like Los Kahunas are keeping surf rock alive with their music. If you like surf rock, then Los Kahunas newest album, Otro Reverberante Encuentro Con Los Kahunas is worth the time to check out.
To check out the band, go to www.loskahunas.com. To find out more about Los Kahunas and other bands, go to the band’s label at www.nofunrecords.com. (ed. note Look for a feature on No Fun Records soon on The Rock and Roll Report).