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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Mambo Surfers

The PTSD Songbook

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The Mambo Surfers have about as sunny a name as any Milwaukee band, but their song cycle about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes a sharp turn from that fun impression. Recorded live at The Coffee House, The PTSDSongbook telegraphs its somber intentions even before the laser hits the CD. Cartoons of skulls, guns, fighter jets, bombs and soldiers in helmets greet the eye from the packaging.

The ear gets 11 tracks of musically proficient jam band meanderings. The hit-and-miss lyrics intermittently hit upon insight amid a gamut of emotions, from sarcasm to tentative triumph, and bear out the admission by The Mambo Surfers' lead singer/songwriter Saji Villoth that he has no firsthand experience with the syndrome about which he sings. He says as much in his prelude to the concert captured on the DVD accompanying the album. However, the effort behind PTSD seems sincere and boasts the imprimatur of local charity Guitars for Vets.

The Mambo Surfers play the Sugar Maple on March 26.