Their given name probably conjures up fun in the sun, and surf-rock music a la the Ventures and the Beach Boys. Their sound, however, is a modern take on bluegrass. So it goes with the debut album of sisters Dana Burke and Lauren Mills and their brother Michael Alden--collectively known as Malibu Storm.
With Dana on vocals and banjo, Lauren on fiddle and vocals, and Michael on bass and vocals, but utilizing many of the Usual Suspects (Bryan Sutton; Adam Steffey; Rob Ickes) of Nashville's bluegrass session musicians community, Malibu Storm have made a very good start for themselves here. In general, most of the songs here, including the Rebekka Bramlett-Beth Nielsen Chapman composition "Old Hickory Lake", are well-suited for their newgrass (or is it "surfgrass") approach. Others, like their down-home cover of Lee Dorsey's 1966 R&B classic "Working In A Coal Mine", get an unusual treatment with the traditional bluegrass instruments. Obviously, the one track on this album that is liable to raise some ire with many (it already has here, at least once) is their cover of Def Leppard's 1983 arena-rock smash "Photograph." Cries of "Heresy!" are likely to be heard here more and more often from now on--to think that this song could receive a bluegrass approach! Personally, though, even if this version gets steeped in controversy, I don't think the trio have done any worse by covering this Def Leppard song than Dolly Parton did by "bluegrassing" up Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven."
Overall, this is a fairly good album--probably not totally perfect (and of course there's the matter of the Def Leppard cover), but compared to much of the dreck Nashville has force-fed its audience in recent years, you can do far, far worse than Malibu Storm.