Stop ‘Bitchin!’ And Hit the Waves with Matt Hurray
July 1, 2019
By Matt Hurray
Overall Grade/Rating: 9.5/10
Subject Matter: 10/10
Replay Value: 10/10
Two long Rocky columns, jetties, extend out into the Pacific Ocean from the coastline of Newport Beach, CA. The monolithic appearance of these columns makes one question: did these once serve as an entry point for sea deities? Of course not. However, these slippery boulders bare a rich history and epic tale about a generation of unruly, curious teenagers bent on peace and love who set out to command one of mankind’s great unknowns, the ocean. Along with their woodies, reefer, and wood surf boards, they challenged and conquered the waves these jetties produced; this spot became famously known as the wedge.
Beach festivities weren’t complete without some Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Bel-Airs, and The Beach Boys in rotation. That iconic sound would become the binder to the various colorful experiences and vibes that defined an era (all praises to the Dalian amplifier). In the the present day, the genre thrives through cliques of indie surf artists and enthusiasts who hold their niche in high regard. (Turn Over…)
Guitarist Matt Hurray, a Newport Beach area native, on his latest album, Bitchin!, an instrumental experience, recreates the feeling of riding waves and taking in the sun.The album’s opener- “Thrasher”- is a burst of energy that grabs the attention of any lending ear. Hurray’s troublesome riffs musically mimic Ron Romanasky in his hey-day of manning wild waves like an offspring of Poseidon.
With three full length albums and two national tours under his belt, hurray’s attentiveness to tonality is apparent as “6 Pak,” a toast to the pre-game or wind down on the sand, takes the edge off from the high adrenaline of “Thrasher.” The decrescendo is so subtle it’s not completely noticeable until “Monterey Sunset” and later on when “Sleep Walk” pops up in the middle of the action. These love oases are for all the Gidgets and Moondoggies canopied by the sunset sitting shoulder -to -shoulder observing the tide.
The tracklist puts listeners right back on the water with “Walk Don’t Run.” Hurray’s fidgety guitar fingering takes off from the make-out sesh playlist track “Monterey Sunset” into the madness. The Fender disciple then displays his versatility on “Buck Hill” and “The Munster’s Theme (with sounds snatched from the rock ‘n roll junkyard, and decked out with a “locals only” attitude).
Not every wave has a vendetta as Hurray reminds us on the easy going “Beyond the Surf,” and that the strings can be hardcore but playful on “Rebel Rouser.” He stands out from his peers in the sense that his playing is pure. His music is absent of pop-tarts with adolescent qualities in their vocals, screaming over tracks with just fragments of surf guitar technique. “El Rollo” is the memento that demonstrates Hurray’s knowledge of his instrument and understanding of the genre. He sends out the message with his 10 track EP that the “King of Surf Guitar” may still be alive. Stay up to date with Matt on Instagram @matthurray