Very few, if any, Columbus musicians set out to start a “surf band.”
It’s difficult to name just one group from the past who have blazed in the trails of The Ventures or Dick Dale. Though that mutual love was the initial spark that brought Katie Baillie and Lee Mason together to form Comrade Question, it was soon apparent they had aspirations beyond such a narrow genre.
Comrade Question’s debut for Superdreamer Records, Pepe Polo, is an ephemeral haze of fuzzy guitars, yes, but somewhere along the line, the duo chose to mellow out, channel country and perhaps some front-porch blues, and add those elements to the reverberations, the invisible fringe, rather than their actual sonic DNA. Teeming with folk-pop lullabies about rotten relationships and searing psychedelic barbs thanks to Patrick Koch’s unwieldy leads, live they tend to tune-in and drop-out from any terrestrial stage from which they play. The reveling is usually gilded in the spectral wash of Baillie and Mason’s unique harmonies, a quality that also conjures a sensual tension in the music. The band writes obvious nods to the Velvet Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain, and the aforementioned “surf” sound, but rarely is it a copy of a copy. Where Pepe Polo is the band slowly inhaling their influences, the follow-up, which is currently being recorded, is according to Mason, “more aggressive,” promising an even thicker cloud of smoke in its exhale.
Noise of Choice