JEFF DAHL - Made In Hawaii LP
“Kallua 5 a.m.” kicks it off in self assured fashion: A solid, mid-tempo groove and that nagging, sharp-edged guitar are present. There’s a feeling that all is not well in somebody’s corner of the world, underlined by the closing line: “Ain’t paradise a bitch?”
This is melodic punk rock. Simple in its structure but done so well. “Bags (Bruddah Mo’o)” borrows stylistically from the Heartbreakers, which ain’t no bad thing. There’s more of the same on “Too Much Pilikia” (that’s Hawaiian for trouble) while short but sweet instrumental “The Bruce Balos Boogie” draws from the same 1950s rocker well.
“Crater Days” is a country-flavoured ode to lost teenage days, another great grove swathed in grass and incense aromas. Like most of the songs, it’s reflections on growing up an living in the USA’s 50th state - does that make it a concept album? - vignettes of kids doing the shit that kids did when nobody was looking. Sarah Bethany’s keyboard trimmings on the outro make “Crater Days” one of the album’s best.
“P.F. Surf” (that’d be short for “pray for surf”) ends the record in the same way it started. It’s a winding, Faces-styled celebration of Island Life. “Bang On” lands in the same place and you can smell the coconut oil. Mott and early Alice were probably other inspirations.
Even though he’s never been one to stick to one style, it’s the Jeff Dahl rockers that will keep the old fans happy. There are enough here, like the the short and spikey “Shorebreak”, to keep the head shaking. Dah's production is clear-headed and focused. The band of locals (mostly drummer Sam Bradley with Dahl on bass and contributions from Bethany and Shawn Pilo on drums) work the songs well.