Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Aquamarines - School Of Reverb Live!dotdotdot
artworkThe Aquamarines are gradually moving towards originals, but this set on Stanford's KZSU is comprised entirely of covers, save for one track. In my opinion, too many of of the songs are from Los Straitjackets. The other covers are very well done, with excellent playing and simple but very effective arrangements. It's a mostly good recording, sounding so much better than the Bay of Reverb Live!
Picks: Latin'ia, Miserlou, Tsunami, My Wonderful Shadow, Apache, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Last Date, Lynxtail, Fadeaway, Morpheus, University Blvd., Cavalcade, G-Man, Hammerhead, Endless Summer, Fury

Track by Track Review


Latin'ia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful version of Tommy Nunes' lush "Latin'ia." It's not Latin like the original, but it has the liquid smoothness intended. Rich and rightly emotional, "Latin'ia" is a pleasure in this warm arrangement.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aquamarines play the Dick Dale and his Del-tones classic with a lot less drive, maybe like the Challengers somewhat, but with more flair than that. There are some very nice arrangement bits, and the playing is quite good.

Tsunami dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Amis' "Tsunami" seems an odd choice to cover. It's not one of Danny's most memorable tunes, and while it's enjoyable, in cover form it also does not really stand out.

My Wonderful Shadow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an interesting composition, influenced by Los Straitjackets and the Hank Marvin, but not like a clone. The melody is happy and the beat uplifting. "My Wonderful Shadow" is an original.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a deliberate and fluid performance of Jerry Lordan's groovy "Apache," with a rather nifty second guitar pattern. Very tastefully done, with a rich arrangement. Great semi-military drums, Indian whoops, and solid energy.

Recorded at Hotel Utah's in San Francisco in May 2004.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an adaptation of Dick Dale's nineties arrangement of one of country's most covered instros. Less in your face perhaps, but well done.

Recorded at Mancuso's in Novato, California in April 2004.

Last Date dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Floyd Cramer's slithery sow dance epic "Last Date" is a very nice choice for a romantic instro. Nicely converted from piano to guitar, with a bit of edge and charm.

Recorded at Hotel Utah's in San Francisco in May 2004.

Lynxtail dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a Link Wray sensibility, big vibrato chords, and surf-throb-correctness, the Aquamarines do a tasteful and straightforward cover of Los Straitjackets' "Lynxtail."

Recorded at Hotel Utah's in San Francisco in May 2004.

Fadeaway dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An often covered Laika and the Cosmonauts tune, "Fadeaway" seems to swim in reverb in an odd swirl. Reverent and pretty.

Morpheus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The lead guitar is just not out front enough in this mix, however the playing is superb and the song a good choice given its relative obscurity. The arrangement is swimming in vibrato and charm. Excellent!

University Blvd. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is OK, but just not original in any way. "University Blvd." is just too much like the original for me.

Cavalcade dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Los Straitjackets song romped and stomped, but not set apart from the original enough to warrant release on disc. They were obviously having fun when they played it.

G-Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somewhat surfed up, "G-Man" is nonetheless too much like the original, except in the grodiness department, where the second guitar brings in a dark and mean edge to the song.

Hammerhead dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Halibuts' rocking "Hammerhead" is a great choice for a cover (only the Concaves also do it), and with it's intense sense of flow and angularity, it lends itself to the band's sound well. The mix is very odd, with too much rhythm and not enough lead guitar.

Endless Summer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered, "Endless Summer" is nonetheless one of those songs that just seem to gather fine performances and never tires the listener. The Aquamarines play it smooth and liquid and softly cool.

Fury dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Los Straitjackets' "Fury" is romped and rocked, with great drums and big splash.