SURPRISE CHEF are a Melbourne collective cookin’ up a fine spread of secret instrumental grooves and sketches, and they’re laying the table to invite you over for their second outing for Mr Bongo, Daylight Savings.
It’s the follow-up to their debut set, All News Is Good News: an album initially privately pressed, the run sold out and the word on the grapevine led to Mr Bongo picking it up for worldwide ears.
We reviewed All News Is Good News here, and noted that it has a real charm in spades, and “… the air of a sudden impressionistic snatch, a glimpse from the ether, a moment that goes on to define your day; music overheard from a passing car or an open window. What was that groove? you think, wishing that you could capture it and remember it vividly and take it home.”
It was a word-of-mouth hit and set the scene for the guys, who run their hipswingin’ operation out of a houseshare – studio, label, living the funk.
Take a listen to our embed of “New Ferrari” (click in the little artwork box at the end) and know these guys have got it. It’s pretty much a perfect soundtrack to your own blaxploitation movie; slot it into your eight-track (or smartphone) and rev up the Dodge Charger (or Nissan Micra); transpose Surprise Chef into your personal film and watch it go widescreen.
It’s built on swaying percussion, little wah-wah and organ vamps, centre stage going to a so-kool early synth riff that’ll bring the heat haze shimmering off the blacktop. Careful with the bonnet rolls though, guys.
Yes, we’ve been living in the album for a while now at Backseat Mafia, and it develops and pushes forward that vocal-free soundtracky thing they’ve got going on. If you love early Money Mark; early James Taylor Quartet; The In Sound From Way Out, by the Beasties, then basically you’re gonna need both Surprise Chef long players in your days.
The new album was laid down in the spring of 2019, almost a year after All News Is Good News. It was the weekend that daylight saving time started in Australia – hence the title – and the studio was filled with the smell of jasmine from out back; place the needle on the record and you’ll find the grooves filled with a breezy spring optimism.
Me? I’m starting to think, as I cruise the dusty streets, that that wing-collared shirt teamed with a handlebar moustache is basically the way forward, with Surprise Chef hitchin’ a lift by my side.