Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Aqualads - Hotboxdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Aqualads have a sense of humor in their writing that is consistent throughout. While riff based, it often transcends what is otherwise a limitation to create a completely enjoyable and infectious listening experience. With some Russian influences in the melodies, "The Volga Boatman" would seem a like cover for them to do. The band's sound is a little like the instrumental side of the Trashmen, but slightly less edgy. A very enjoyable CD, which also includes some spiffy PC-only video and "slack fun."
Picks: Quasimodo, Bikini Jungle, Hotbox, Dos Whammies, Haunted Beach, Longboard, Aquanettes Theme, Disintegration, Undertow, Teenage Surf Vampires, Seashore, El Spectre, Flatline, Night Of The Gremmie, Cat On A Hot Foam Board, Sandymonium

Track by Track Review

Quasimodo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Quasimodo" is an utterly happy melody with a fluffy surf sound and an inevitable friendly face. It grows on you (but so do warts). It's got this almost childlike quality that you want to dislike but can't. Way fun.

Bikini Jungle dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, chunky rhythms, and churning guitar lines, combine with the drama of the delivery to produce a solid track. Shy of a strong melody, it none the less sports an infectious progression and creative underlying idea that hold your attention. It's an energetic and attractive tune.

Hotbox dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish surf and tango sensibilities abound. This track generates images of black lace and roses, and long slithering rides on perfect curl along an island coastline. Ins and outs, and warm sun. A fine song.

Dos Whammies dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Expecting whammy action? Nope, just fine double picked surf action and infectious playfulness. Traditionally structured. The lead guitar tone is quite round.

Haunted Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eerie, forbidden sadness, riders on the wake. This is a very nice moody piece, with a pretty melody, a nice interplay between lead and rhythm, and a haunting appeal. It almost cries, but won't quite allow the tears to flow. It's more an optimistic look forward than an self indulged look back. Nice.

Longboard dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A chorded Spanish influenced number with great double picked guitar parts and a more playful dryer guitar line as well. The track seems to bounce between the surf and the beach snack shack. Very fun and quite unusual.

Aquanettes Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, choppy chords, stompin' progression, and chunky attack. Double picked single note rages, and then a heck of a lot of power. It's amazing what can be done without melody... I usually dislike this sort of thing, but this is good.

Disintegration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Disintegration" is the Ready Men's tune. The performances here is spirited. Solid, but nothing special.

Undertow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Undertow" is a nice track. It has an airy sound, and a wistful progression, broken by big whammy and double picked riffs a la Jim Messina. The main riff is quite pleasing, and happy, like most tracks here.

Teenage Surf Vampires dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Post pubescent blood suckers hover over head, while this nicely whammied surf tune holds sway over the intended victims. It's not melodic exactly, but it has power and character, and a modicum of flying double picked guitar lines. Good track.

Seashore dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Seashore" is credited to Jim Masoner, but it is "Sorento" played with an eye on a wine bottle. This is a fine rendition, better than the Untamed Youth cut.

El Spectre dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom toms and a slow low down bass, then a vibrato drenched guitar, and whammy chords... yup, it's moody and ominous, like a surfified "Harlem Nocturne" with all the haunt and none of the melody, not that it seeks to matter much. This is quite effective and enjoyable. I particularly find the bottleneck slides effective. They add a whole new dimension to surf, and provide an almost Twilight Zone twist to the moodiness. Remarkable arranging.

Flatline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow silky lead lines and vibrato throb, and a romantic feel. Like a view of the lagoon via a late-night moon. Really nice.

Night Of The Gremmie dotdotdotdot
Ska Surf (Instrumental)

Ska surf infectious fun... I mean, this is FUN! It's also very original and infectious. It reminds me of early Halibuts, with a rounder tone.

Cat On A Hot Foam Board dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cover of the New Dimensions' "Cat On A Hot Foam Board" played with as much fire, but with a more toned down sound. It sports a more subtle energy, and testifies to the flexibility of the tune. Extra cool.

Sandymonium dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great title, hinting of anarchy on the beach, or maybe eating sand at the hands of nasty shorebreak. Either way, it rages with double picked dribbling notes, vibrato guitar support, and solid percussion.