Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Aqua Velvets - Reaching Shangri-Ladotdotdotdotdot
artworkReaching Shangri-La is a long overdue new slice of Aqua Velvets music. Some songs have more energy sneaking out of their quitetude, while others are more focused on being lush and emotional. The songs on the more lush side sometimes are more dependent on the distance between notes than the notes themselves for the mood they set. The guitar work is just amazing in its easy liquid smoothness and delicate emotional slither. I've been a fan of The Aqua Velvets since the dawn of the third wave in San Francisco in the late eighties, and as they evolve more into lush, they get more beautiful. This is a fine release.
Picks: Reaching Shangri-La, Leader Of The Pack, Remember Walking In The Sand, Shang Ten, Lost Horizon, Out In The Streets, Right Now Not Later, From Paradise With Love

Track by Track Review


Reaching Shangri-La dotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

This is a lovely slow number with a haunting nightfall exotica feel. The long-delayed stereo guitar adds spatial expanse to the beautiful melody. "Reaching Shangri-La" is a very pretty and moody song.

Leader Of The Pack dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

This slushy cover of The Shangri-Las' ' "Leader Of The Pack." It features some very cool twang in the bridges, and lush echoed guitar. While much more restrained than most surf, and certainly heavily influenced by lounge, this is simply wonderful and very surfable.

Remember Walking In The Sand dotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

Hauntingly beautiful, The Aqua Velvets have transformed The Shangri-Las' ' "Remember Walking In The Sand" from teenage heartbreak into emotionally mature and glorious fair. Romantic and fluid, with lush liquid sound.

Shang Ten dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

"Shang Ten" is very lush and characteristically Aqua Velvets. Great round bass, perfectly simple drums, easy subtle keys, and haunting guitar. This is a very pretty and moving track with lush ambiance and very relaxing spatial sound.

Lost Horizon dotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

Delicate bongos and distant keys wash across the lagoon in the morning mist, obscuring the horizon, except in your mind's eye. "Lost Horizon" is a slow and very easy moving piece with a delicate and pretty melody. A great mood setter.

Out In The Streets dotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

The Shangri-Las' "Out In The Streets" is all lovelied (is that a word?) out by the magic of The Aqua Velvets. Slow, lush, shimmering, trembling with heart, and even sporting a haunting chorus. This is simply beautiful.

Right Now Not Later dotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

This is a lush and pretty cover with a very gentle arrangement. Very mood-setting romantic, with an ear for far away sunsets.

From Paradise With Love dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Lounge Exotica (Instrumental)

A bit of country twang, exotic percussion, and lush island sensibility, as well as quite near-surf dribbled notes combine to create a stunning piece. The melody is very good - no, strike that - the melody is superb! I love this song, and the arrangement is spatial optimistic.