Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Astronauts [German] - Play Penetration - Fire Down Belowdotdot
artworkIt's too bad that this band chooses to record poorly. It's not that ridiculous Hillsdale or Lookout lo-fi, but it is marginal monaural. The band can deliver the goods, and are probably a good live act. My other complaint is the cutesy renaming of standards to 1] make them fit in with the space theme, and 2] disguise them as new songs to the unsuspecting. There's not an original lick here. Some performances are quite good, but given the plethora of available versions of these songs, and the better quality of most of those recordings, I'd pass on this unless you are a completist collector or a lo-fi fan.
Picks: Lost In Space, The Astronaut, Moonshot, The Rocket Man, Nutbreaker, Amapola, SpaceCorn, Rocket To Mars, Penetration, Space Safari, Laserfire, War Of The Satellites, Cruel Space, Jupiter Doodle, Astronauts Theme, Rockin' Alien

Track by Track Review


Lost In Space dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a moderately cool song with a low down groove and watery shallow whammy. The riff is interesting, but too unchanging. Dramatic and gloomy.

The Astronaut dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fiery performance of a straight rendition of Jim Messina and The Jesters' "The Cossack." It's got the punch and low down surf reverb, but the lack of highs and murky recording takes away some of the spunk.

Moonshot dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I can't place this exactly. Is it "Like Tequila" or "Too Much Tequila?" Pretty slow reverbomatic rendition of a Champs classic. It's damped reverb chops and big whammy chords gives it real surf groove.

The Rocket Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A relatively straight version of "Meadowlands" converted well to the surf idiom. There's nothing special going on, but it is a satisfying take.

Nutbreaker dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

B. Bumble and the Stingers' "Nut Rocker" a.k.a. "The Nutcracker Suite" is romped out fast and furious just like the hit single, but with surf guitar replacing the piano. Quite fun.

Amapola dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This European standard gets a country bumpkin whammy tradness applied. While fun, it's not memorable at all.

SpaceCorn dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"SpaceCorn" is a cool and intense tune with great surf whammy chords and an endless riff. Energetic and spirited, with poundy drums, and a few choice glissandoes.

Rocket To Mars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fast and fiery arrangement of Frankie Laine's "Wild Goose" with a new bridge and lots of glissandoes. It's pretty darn cool. Lots of power and loudness.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an average arrangement and performance of the Pyramids' "Penetration," though it's certainly heavily reverbed and chunky. It's based on the Ventures' arrangement, but much more reverby, and with the silly string swipes replaced by great surf chords. Solid and very cool.

Space Safari dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris riffin' rocker "Surfari" is played fast and aggressively. It's a tuff version with charm and energy.

Laserfire dotdot
Organ (Instrumental)

Johnny and the Hurricanes' rockin' "Crossfire" with a really lame organ lead. Argh!

War Of The Satellites dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like it says, it's the Ventures space tune, but really heavy. Mondo reverb crash and pummeling thunder. The tune is more or less goofy, but the intense reverb chunk of the rhythm is immensely powerful.

Cruel Space dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Astronauts play a pedestrian cover of the Dakotas' "Cruel Sea." Aside from a few heavy low reverb chords, there's noting here that hasn't been done to death before, and better.

Jupiter Doodle dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A so-so cover of Link Wray's "Dixie Doodle" a.k.a. "Dixie." Unremarkable!

Astronauts Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Oh, what is this... I can't recall the title... from the fifties I think. The reverb and fun rhythm keep it in the plus column. Kind of infectious.

Rockin' Alien dot
Organ (Instrumental)

Johnny and the Hurricanes' "Rockin' Goose" done WAY poorly. It's got spunk, but hardly a lick of coolness. Just cheesy frat rockin' noise.