New Music: Odyssey by The Reverb Syndicate


Ottawa’s premier, maybe only, instrumental surf and go-go band, The Reverb Syndicate is releasing a new album April 18.

In their tenth year as a band, The Reverb Syndicate are releasing their fourth studio album, Odyssey. The band’s bio perfectly describes them as “reverb-drenched surf/spy-fi sounds to accompany ’60s spy films, westerns, sci-fi films and old school video games that don’t exist.”

“Back in 2006 I asked Mike [Bradford, the current guitarist] if he wanted to start a band with me,” Bass player Jeff Welsh explained about the origins of the band. “He told me he wanted to start a surf/instrumental band. I thought it sounded like fun but I wasn’t convinced. I figured we would play three shows, but then we would move on to something else. That was several years, four albums, two oversea tours and many, many amazing evenings ago.”

And why an instrumental band you may ask? “Because it’s a fun style of music that’s accessible and without any pretension.”

The new album Odyssey is a “kind of our tribute to Devo, ’80s video games and Commodore 64 era of home computing,” and best of all Welsh said “you can dance to it.” But how does one come up with such an out of the box concept for an instrumental album in 2015? “As an instrumental band, to help our writing process we come up with a theme or story for each album. It keeps us from just doing the same old thing each time. For this one, we created a man vs machine/man in the machine story. So there are lots of references to computer errors in the song titles and we even rig up a real Commodore 64 on stage and use it during our live show.”

The boys are no strangers to stories and adventures, their other albums have taken them all over the place. In 2006, they began with blend of ’60s spy movie music and classic surf rock on Operation: Jet Set!. Then in 2007, they ventured into the stars with the space-themed Sputnik A-Go-Go. Four years later in 2011, they saddled up and headed to the wild west channeling the sounds of the spaghetti westerns with Mondo Cacti. (Eat your heart out Will Smith.)  And now, in 2014, The Reverb Syndicate is embarking on a new adventure, one that finds them pitted against an evil uprising of old home computers.

Odyssey is scheduled to be released Saturday, April 18 at the House of TARG, and all those in attendance better have their dancing shoes on. “If you come to a Reverb Syndicate show you can expect to want to dance. Simple as that. We’ve played to 250 retirees at a community hall in a small suburb of London in the UK. We just played to a packed house of 20-year-old québécois punk-student-anarchists in Montreal. And the thing that both crowds had in common was they both got up and danced,” said Welsh.

If you can’t wait until Saturday and need to dance, turn the speakers way up and get on your feet, because you can stream Odyssey below!