To a great degree, these Denver instrumentalists stake out the same surfing grounds as Dick Dale, the Ventures and the Lively Ones, but there's a greater sense of humor working here ("Gidget's Guns", "Jesus Wrecked My Stuff"), and a stronger garage rock component. Bands within this genre have an easy time making a ton of songs that sound more alike than different, so Maraca Five-O have to be commended for all the variations they work into each track. Sometimes they're fast, other times they're faster, and sometimes the melodies are like waves you can't outrun. The band even goes psychedelic in the druggy tour de force "Dance, Elaina". Everytime I played this track, the violin of Kelly O'Dea conjured up a couple of the (many) strange women in Blue Velvet, and so I pictured Elaina as one of these gals, swaying back and forth on a car top while Frank Booth tortured poor Jeffrey Beaumont.
Discovering such brutal images in these surf-rock instrumentals, in fact, is more the norm than the exception, so don't get Headin' South at 110 Per if you're a small-and-delicate-wave kind of beach bum. It's not for all you fellas with eight types of suntan lotion, either; people afraid of skin cancer, dude, are certainly afraid of rhythms this wild! There is an extremely strong rock-n-roll mentality here, a blistering desire from these rockers to beat the waves senseless each time their guitars ride 'em out. Their recklessness, passion, and sheer talent keep the entertainment factor high, well worth a full-keg salute. By the end of the disc, I was so satisfied with the music that my disappointment over the band being instrumentalists (me being a vocal lover and all) had completely disappeared. Yes, their song titles ("Night of the Shadow Midgets") seem too good to go without some fun smartass lyrics, but this keeps the band free of Mojo Nixon-type "novelty act" tags. Besides, if you want lyrics that bad, you can make 'em up yourself, and let the band and their guitars take your Dead Milkman pilferings past their imaginatively evoked Colorado shores.
-- Theodore Defosse