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"Rendezvous in Okonkuluku"
Waitiki, 2007

     The Boston-based tiki band Waitiki is back with their second release Rendezvous in Okonkuluku, or RIO for short. Waitiki is part of a new group of tiki bands who draw their inspiration equally from the old masters as well as the new generation of tiki bar dwellers. It seems for them nothing is better than listening to old Martin Denny records while putting their tiki mugs to work.
     There’s a rum-soaked pleasure in Waitiki’s music. In fact, listening to RIO is like spending a night at the tiki bar. You start off with soft sounds and Mai Tai’s and before you know it you’re knocking back Fog Cutters, Singapore Slings, and other strange concoctions. In your alcohol-fueled haze, the puffer fish start winking at you and the tiki idols start singing along. And for many, this is pure heaven. The song “Pineapple Lilt” is almost a literal translation of this effect with a Don Ho-inspired singer taking you through a musical tour of the famed Malakai bar.
     Like Waitiki’s debut album Charred Mammal Flesh, RIO keeps true to it’s exotica roots with covers of Martin Denny’s “Voodoo Love,” Paul Conrad’s “China Clipper,” and Les Baxter’s song “Tiki.” Waitiki then mixes in their own brand Polynesian pop and the result is, well, intoxicating. The album was produced by Brother Cleve of Combustible Edison and DelFuegos fame and his audiophile sensibilities show. At times the album feels like a musical gem discovered in a dusty record bin at a thrift store.
     Whereas Charred Mammal Flesh had moments of head-scratching weirdness, RIO is a solid listen from start to finish. Waitiki has matured musically and the new album is filled with subtle displays of funk and moments of breathtaking beauty. That’s not to say RIO doesn’t have its playful moments. Granted these moments are more fun with a few drinks in you, like the song “Wadada” which start innocent enough then creeps up on you and before you know it you’re surrounded by monosyllabic bird-calling primal chants. Fans of “Plamingo Flagoda” from their first album will be happy to see a follow-up, of sorts, on this album titled “Plamingo Merengue.”
     As a special bonus, Waitiki is also releasing RIO on vinyl. It’s a 12” limited pressing that features different artwork and includes a bonus track called “Akaka Falls.” 
     Whether you’re spending the summer camped out at your backyard tiki bar roadtripping to professional drinking establishments, make sure to take the sounds of Waitiki with you. And if you ever see them play live, make sure to buy them a drink.

     Check out this interview with Waitiki recorded for The Bachelor Pad Radio Show at Tiki Oasis 2008: Waitiki Interview

Visit Waitiki's Website>>>

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