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ALBUM REVIEW: "Pipe Dreams" 

The Huckleberry Fins

"Pipe Dreams"

Dadstache Records

Can a Rochester surf rock band capture the California sound with authenticity and ingenuity? The answer is a resounding "Yes." The Huckleberry Fins' album "Pipe Dreams" — released on July 24 via the locally-based Dadstache Records — is as tight and cohesive as anything you'll hear all year.

The Fins have put together a fast-paced collection of riff-laden songs that will put the wind in your hair and the sand between your toes. And yet the trio also brings a jazz sensibility to its brand of surf music, evident in the nuances of Paolo Marino's intelligent drum fills and the connective tissue of guitarist Ryan Bailey's extended legato phrasing, bolstered by bassist Jameson Dunham's dependable rumble.

The band's chemistry is especially evident in "Wild Blue Yonder," as Bailey's insightful guitar work weaves its way around Marino's lively syncopations, evoking a high-speed road trip along the West Coast. "Malaguena" combines punk rock energy and Spanish classical guitar inflections. The mostly instrumental record features only one track with Bailey on vocals: the worthwhile "Balance."

And just when the album seems to succumb to the predictability and musical limitations of surf tunes, "Romancing the Wave" comes along — ecstatic and compelling — with an utterly delectable guitar lick. Bailey's guitar style recalls Johnny Marr with The Smiths, as rhythmically intricate, textures melodies are bathed in just the right amount of reverb.


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