Review: Ukexotic

WHILE the uke has proven itself to be one of the world’s most versatile instruments, there’s no denying its tropical roots. Just a few strums can mentally transport the listener to an island paradise where the only thing you need to think about is which cocktail you’re going to order at sunset.

If that’s the sort of feel you’re looking for, you can’t go past Mike Diabo’s new album Ukexotic. Inspired by the tiki/exotica scene of the 1950s and ’60s, it’s a polished collection of catchy ukulele instrumentals, bolstered by the addition of bass, percussion, flute and bird calls.

“After looking around for a jet set-inspired¬†uke-led album and coming up empty-handed, I thought I would record my own,” says Mike, who’s perhaps better known as guitarist Rev Hank in popular Canadian band Urban Surf Kings.

The album opens with Ideal Surf Cafe, with its distinctive jungle rhythm and soothing vibes, and progresses through 11 tracks, appropriately ending with Tropical Twilight, which nicely highlights Mike’s uke playing. If you don’t have a Mai Tai (or at least a fruity mocktail) in your hand by this point, you’re doing something wrong! Cheers, Mike.

Ukexotic is available here: https://reverbranch.bandcamp.com/album/ukexotic

And here’s track 2 off the album, Penetration: