Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Big Ray and the Futuras - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkFirst CD from a Massachusetts band. They are a trio. The arranging is generally solid enough to cover for the lack of a second guitar. This CD has some really bright spots, and some pedestrian and less interesting spots. Some tracks suffer from a lack of melody, while others are quite good. The overall feel is surf, but some tracks miss that mark as well. The thing is, the good tracks are quite good, and the so-so tracks are not bad, just not very interesting. Tracks 10 through 13 were recorded live (soundboard, most likely), and suffer from the house sound guy blues (too much kick drum, too little music), though they are better than many I've heard as of late.
Picks: Hot Rod, Entra Venus, Low Tide, Lug Nut, Surf Hammer, Life On Mars, Ranchero, The Slam, Area 51, Secret Agent Man, Mr. Moto, Life On Mars, Vengeance

Track by Track Review


Hot Rod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A "Surf Beat" second guitar and a basic rock beat, plus a "Six Pack" structure. Not much melody, but pretty fun.

Entra Venus dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a strong surf track with a solid melody line and solid guitar tones. The break is a little weak, but otherwise the track has it's chops together.

Low Tide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I like this. It is a gentle surf track with an Indian tom-tom beat. It has the right feel, and delivers images of a pow-wow at the beach. Very nice track.

Lug Nut dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

No melody, but that basic Cramps / "Boss" (Rumblers) beat and chunk. It's ok, but lacks focus.

Surf Hammer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rockin' but not very surfy track with little melody, but a progression that could well be the backtrack for a decent instro.

Life On Mars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing tones and a dramatic introduction, whammified and intriguing. The over all track is very strong, melodic and interesting. It has a pristine quality, a clarity of purpose. A very nice track.

Ranchero dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ah! A rocking surfing cowpoking romp. A great beat, great guitar tone, and a rollicking pace. This song is the best on the CD for my taste.

The Slam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More whammy chord than song, it's kinda cool. The pace shift mid song doesn't add to the song, but rather seems out of place. maybe it's the weakness of the melody, but I didn't like it much.

Area 51 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Area 51 is the legendary "secret" place that "doesn't exist" in Nevada where there is "rumored" to be a military base that the government "denies" exists. It is said by the notorious "Fringe People" that they have "captured alien ships" there. Listening to Dreamland again, are we? But, seriously folks, this is a big fast track with a solid and interesting beat, and solid playing. The melody is good, and the spirit is strong.

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Many covers of this have been issued over the past 15 years of the surf revival, all instrumentally. This doesn't stand out in the pack. It's energetic enough, and fun enough, just not remarkable.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Way too many covers, many better, some not. Average trio arrangement, but none of the delicate interplay that Paul Johnson intended when he wrote it.

Life On Mars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing tones and a dramatic introduction, whammified and intriguing. The over all track is very strong, melodic and interesting. It has a pristine quality, a clarity of purpose. A very nice track.

Vengeance dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The intro is too long, but this is one hot track! Major hugeness, lots of energy and a monster attack. The moderate melody line is a minor issue when the performance is this strong. Very nice track.