Summer is a State of Mind
Reviewed by: Stephen L. Robbins
I was there. Like most of the gang here, I was alive in the early '60s. Those were the days of my youth and I was lovin' it. The Beach Boys, The Sunrays, and The Fantastic Baggys (Baggies) were hot and I dug it when they blasted out of my old AM radio.
So, what does that have to do with Surf School Dropouts' debut album, Summer is a State of Mind? It's simple. Turn back the hands of time, blast out Summer is a State of Mind through that old bakelite radio and I would swear it was The Beach Boys or The Sunrays or The Fantastic Baggys lighting up the radio dial.
And, hey, I'm not so old that my memory is kaput. I remember the music, I remember the feeling and I remember the 'state of mind'. Surf School Dropouts' Summer is a State of Mind is pure 1960's surf 'n' pop vocals to the max.
Surf School Dropouts are:
Andreas Jacobsen - vocals, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, various
Christian Bendix - vocals, bass, guitars
Jari Nielsen - vocals, guitars
Martin R. Jensen - vocals
Kristian Uhd Kristiansen - Trumpet on Stone Cold Crazy
Summer is a State of Mind - Surf School Dropouts don't waste any time getting to the point. California is 1000 miles away and they're going to have to wait through months of rain and snow until summer returns. They can do it, though. They just keep thinking of summer. After all, it's a state of mind. Great vocals and harmonies à la the Beach Boys.
Baby, I Long to be Yours - Gentle, reflective, somewhat melancholy instrumentation opens and accompanies this very pretty song. A guy meets a girl in the park. After a little walk together, he asks her when he can see her again. She smiles at him, then runs away. He's confused. He doesn't know what he did wrong. Later, he returns to the park hoping to see her once more. His fears come true. She's nowhere to be found, but he longs to be hers.
Follow the Sun - It's September and the leaves are beginning to fall. Better catch the sunshine while you can because you might not see it for a long time. Follow the Sun is groovy. The instrumentation and pacing remind me of The Turtles, another of my favorite 1960's vocal groups. The vocals and harmonies are reminiscent of the Beach Boys/Sunrays. It's a cool mix.
Interlude I - 40 seconds of instrumental bliss. Very relaxing.
Beach Bound - It's been hot all week long so the guys are heading for the beach in their XKE. It'll be surfin' and party time. Watch out for that sunburn. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put on my baggies, grab my board and hit the beach with the guys. Very Beach Boy-esque.
Searchin' for the Perfect Wave - Opens with the sounds of the surf. The guys are searchin'. Searching for that one perfect wave. They head down 101, searchin'. They fly around Dead Man's Curve, searchin'. The surf's up now and they're ready to go. They're going to ride that perfect wave. Surf School Dropouts mention The Fantastic Baggys in this tune. And well they should. They sound just like 'em.
The Road Ahead of Me - He can remember feeling her hand in his when everything once seemed fine. Now there's only memories, dreams and a mind playing tricks. How can he keep his soul from drifting aimlessly? He sees the road ahead, but it will take some time to move forward. All he wants to do is see her face. The feeling of loneliness in The Road Ahead of Me reminds me of The Beach Boys' In My Room.
Interlude II - 44 more seconds of instrumental bliss. Now I'm very relaxed.
Run Away - It's a new year. As soon as the party is over, they're going to split. They're not just leaving the party, they're leaving the town. Who knows where they'll go. Mexico? Tokyo? They're going to run away. They both need a second chance. Cool song with a cool instrumental guitar laden chorus.
Stone Cold Crazy - He's got one thing on his mind ... a girl. She doesn't know he exists. He dreams about her every night. He's in love with her, but doesn't know how to approach her. If only he could make her notice him. Very full and rich sounding song. Great Beach Boys vocals and harmonies. Lavish orchestral type of instrumentation adds to the fullness.
Hold On to Me - She's been hanging out with other guys during the summer. Her kisses are shorter and he feels a coldness coming from her. Is someone else on her mind? He wants her to hold onto him, to believe in him, to give him another chance. She's drifting away. Please don't say goodbye. The first four measures are instrumental and I'll be damned if they didn't remind me of The Shirelles' original version of Will You (Still) Love Me Tomorrow. Cool opening to a cool song.
Interlude III - 51 more seconds of instrumental bliss. I'm beyond relaxed. I'm putty. Beautiful.
Favourite Record - Neat tune opens with the sound of a needle on a record, scratches and all. The record has been a lifetime companion. He knows the lyrics and the chords on every cut. He sees his youthful writing, stickers and coffee stains on the cover. It's an old and dear friend that gave him his love of music, the soundtrack of his life.
Glad You Decided to Stay - You don't always find what you are seeking, but don't let it get you down. He wants his girl to stick around and see what's in store for them. He doesn't understand why she would want to end their relationship so soon. He wants to grow old with her. How can he convince her to stay? He wants her to see if time will heal their differences. Fortunately, with the arrival of a new dawn, he convinces her to stay. Very pretty song.
Some final thoughts: Surf School Dropouts' Summer is a State of Mind is filled with 1960's style vocals and harmonies, reminiscent of the surf 'n' pop legends of that time. It's a lot of fun. This Danish group is A#1 in my book.
|Surf School Dropouts:
Summer is a State of Mind
|01) Summer is a State of Mind
|02) Baby, I Long to be Yours
|03) Follow the Sun
|04) Interlude I
|05) Beach Bound
|06) Searchin' for the Perfect Wave
|07) The Road Ahead of Me
|08) Interlude II
|09) Run Away
|10) Stone Cold Crazy
|11) Hold On to Me
|12) Interlude III
|13) Favourite Record
|14) Glad You Decided to Stay
Recorded at Larmcentralen, Copenhagen, Denmark. 2009-2012
Credits released 17 July 2012
Producer: Andreas Jacobsen
Vocal arrangements: Surf School Dropouts