Review: Rondo Hatton is a local gem _lowres

Photo by Joel Ryan--Pete Doherty, left and Carl Barat of The Libertines perform during Glastonbury Music Festival earlier this year.

Rondo Hatton Breaking the Sound Barrier

The latest album from Rondo Hatton proves once again that this Baton Rouge instrumental group probably is the greatest surf-rock band in the Southeast.

Guitarist Bruce Lamb composed most of “Breaking the Sound Barrier.” He’s a master at re-creating specific musical styles and eras.

Of course, those styles include 1960s surf rock of the kind practiced by gonzo electric guitar maestro Dick Dale, The Chantays (“Pipeline”) and The Surfaris (“Wipe Out”).

Master of the Telecaster Lamb and his fellow Rondo Hatton guitarist, Johnny Rossetti, ride the wild surf with “Storm Surge,” “Riding the Coffin” and “Fishtail.”

Rondo Hatton, which features Lamb’s and Rossetti’s fellow music veterans drummer Chad Solomon and bassist Les LeBlanc, veer from the surf thing with the Spanish-tinged, melancholy majesty of “Cortana del Fuego.” They throw some twangy country on the album, too, with “No Tell Motel.” “Switchblade,” even without vocals, is an evocation of Johnny Cash. And “Roast That Pig” finds the boys in western-swing mode.

Rondo Hatton doesn’t gig a lot, but they are absolutely a local gem.

John Wirt