Given her long history recording as Susan and the SurfTones, you have to wonder why Susan Yasinski (aka Susan SurfTone) decided to go the solo route for her latest album. There’s not much here to distinguish Shore from the SurfTones’ previous output – and her adoption of the SurfTone surname suggests that Susan knows it. Drop the forename and it’s business as usual.

If the lack of innovation is disappointing, then the album’s basement production values are even more so. Many of the tracks sound hollow, as if someone simply placed a tape recorder in the corner of the room and left Susan and collaborators to play. Even the cover of The Doors’ ‘Riders On The Storm’ seems dead at its core, and Susan’s slick guitar work can’t pull it out of the slump. Some will love the lo-fi grittiness of it all, but for newcomers it all too quickly wears thin.

If you’re a fan of Link Wray, Dick Dale, or even The Shadows, then Shore will make a pleasant addition to your record shelf. It may even act as an early soundtrack to your summer. But if you’re expecting anything more lively than a little solo guitar doodling over some solid organ and bass lines, then this solo jaunt can’t help but disappoint.

Shore is available now from all good record outlets, and from the Acme Brothers website.
Note: This review is for the vinyl release of the album.

Culture Review: Susan SurfTone Hits the Beach with 'Shore'