Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Aqua Velvets - Surf Maniadotdotdotdot
artworkThis CD finds the Aquas in two new places... signed to Mesa Bluemoon (Atlantic Records), and reinventing surf again via their humorous Lounge Surf sound. The tracks range from high energy surf slams through psychedelic surf sojourns to lounge, and even a Martin Denny inspired track. These guys are among the nicest players around, and they're all veteran musicians, so their approach is reasoned and precise. This is a very good and easy to listen to CD.
Picks: Surf Mania, Mexican Rooftop Afternoon, Martini Time, Zamora, Mastering The Art Of Falling Down, Martin Denny, Esq., Surf Samba, A Raymond Chandler Evening, Cabana Del Gringo, Hawaiian Blue, Green Sunshine, Kashmir Sweater

Track by Track Review

Surf Mania dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This has long been a staple of the Aqua Velvets. It has a lot of power, and demonstrates their pristine playing well. It is melodic, and full bodied. It invokes the kind of images that you'd expect in s surf video, large rolling waves, riders on the edge, salt spray on the camera lens, you know the scenes. An energetic track. It employs a keyboard, which until very recently, they never used live.

Mexican Rooftop Afternoon dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With bongos gently thumping, this very picturesque melody oozes lazy afternoon breezes with martini in hand. The use of harmonics is splendid, and the lounginess is unmistakable, though not overbearing. A very pretty track.

Martini Time dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Speaking of martinis, this highly rhythmic track splashes with fine guitar generated verandah scenes, building slowly like an impending evening in the canteena. A great track with lots of soothing sounds and hot drums. very infectious!

Zamora dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and mysterious, this very pretty piece just oozes South Pacific lagoon and saronged maidens. You can smell the salt breeze in the warm air, feel the sunset, and taste the luau. Very sensuous.

Mastering The Art Of Falling Down dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nonchalant embodied in a song. Surfing is all about not falling down unless you can make it look like you meant it. Their bar scene is like that too. It's like when a cat does something stupid, then looks around to see if anyone observed it, the quickly and confidently licks it's coat to appear calm and in control. Double picked midsection, sinewy lines,funky underpinnings. What a cool song.

Martin Denny, Esq. dotdotdotdot
Bachelor Pad Surf (Instrumental)

As you might imagine, this is very Martin Denny-like. You see, these guys were doing exotica and lounge BEFORE it was cool. This is amazing - vibes, a bit of the sea, some bizarre creature sounds, and very sinewy guitar lines. Cool and just right for that bachelor pad wing-ding.

Surf Samba dotdotdot
South American Surf (Instrumental)

Mexican double picking, South American rhythms, jazzy guitar lines, melody leads, and just enough party to make it all too fun.

A Raymond Chandler Evening dotdotdot
Black Tie Surf (Instrumental)

You got the picture from the title - a black tie affair, romantic interludes, sophisticated ladies, flowing lubrication, and limousines. They're all here in this pretty mood piece with a taste of the blues.

Cabana Del Gringo dotdotdotdot
Mexican Detective (Instrumental)

Peter Gunn goes Baja and absorbs the local culture while spreading his style on the natives. Very Mexican, detectivist, and intriguing. A mighty visual track.

Hawaiian Blue dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Poi and pineapple, luau dancers and tourists, after dinner stroll on the beach. A perfect backdrop for a movie scene of two people meandering romantically on the beach at dusk as the credits roll. Beautiful track.

Green Sunshine dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

This is an amazing track. They added the wah-wah bit recently. This is an epic of psychedelic surf, green waters with the sun dancing off the reflected ripples, sunsets in the West, hippie dreams of surf and sand, drama and longboards. A great track, and a great song. I like the version on Sounds From The Inside better than this one, but that is not a detraction.

Kashmir Sweater dotdotdotdot
Illusional Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing chords, haunting sounds, intense sensitivity, and extreme endearment. This is a hard track to describe, except to say that it is magnetic and illusional.