Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Bikini Men - Stampede Party!dotdotdot
artworkFrance's Bikini Men are a trio, with drums and two guitars, one fuzz (rhythm) and one surf (lead). Some fine ideas here, and some interesting textures too, coupled with lots of power and frat rock abandon. Some great frat surf rages are marred by marginal, almost ambient sound, particularly the drums. "A Night With Cleopatra" is a wonderful garage surf epic!
Picks: Power Bomb, Melle Deluxe, A Night With Cleopatra, Bomb-O-Rama, California Cruiser, Crystal Tears, Poland Girl, Stampede Party, Take Of Your Clothes, Link X, Lonely Road, El Luchador De La Playa, Metal Joe, Touranga, Hava Nagila, Hey Hey

Track by Track Review


Power Bomb dotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Riff surf with power and big reverb, coupled with European sirens, charges forth, interrupted by shouts of "Power Bomb." The guitar is strong, while the drums are quite weak.

Melle Deluxe dotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Minimalist frat surf riff rock grinds forth, with the power minimized by the ambient sound. Aside from the reverb, this really is more like fifties rock instro than surf.

A Night With Cleopatra dotdotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzz guitar and drums play a stereotypical middle eastern garage rhythm while the reverb guitar plays through the melody line. The garagy nature of the band adds to the mystique. Way fun! Is this a cover of Gaminiam and his Orientals' "Come With Me To The Casbah?"

Bomb-O-Rama dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Fast punkoidal surf thrash with a cool melody line and cheesy male chorus "ah-ah's." Really a fun song! I think better drum sound could elevate this to cult status.

California Cruiser dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Big power surge assault and dark garage reverb. It's a long way from a California cruiser, miles from a coastal adventure. "California Cruiser" powers like storm surge churning and on-the-rocks panic.

Crystal Tears dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A reverb kick opens "Crystal Tears." It's a mid tempo song with a moody melody, played with loudness and grunt force, yet retaining a sense of the delicacy behind the bold face. Great stuff!

Poland Girl dotdotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

"Poland Girl" has a gypsy feel and solid surf grumble. The sadness associated with gypsy music comes through the loud surf and garage assault. A fine track.

Stampede Party dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A circular surf riff runs out front of this frat surf number. It's fun and tuff, and more than just what the frat surf label implies. Plenty of gusto here, as well as a playful bridge and melody.

Take Of Your Clothes dotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A frat rock fuzz assault, "Take Of Your Clothes" is much less interesting than the rest of the songs here. It relies on a riff, not a melody, and is more abut thrash than song.

Link X dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

In an obvious nod to Link Wray, the Bikini Men trash and surf the Linkster with reverence and abandon. At first, this seemed just so-so, but it grew on me. Simple construction, like Wray's own, and pretty darn effective. Gritty, with Linkisms everywhere.

Lonely Road dotdotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A soft and forlorned song of the Baja coast on a drizzly afternoon. Spanish drama, sophisticated changes, and an attractive melody. "Lonely Road" is quite a fine song!

El Luchador De La Playa dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy gutty garage thunder runs under surf guitar. Dark and dangerous, "El Luchador De La Playa" warns of the masked men on the beach! Plodding plundering sand in the face weekend adventure.

Metal Joe dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Joe might be made of aluminum. Well, maybe cold rolled, but stainless it isn't. Fuzz chunk and surf riffology. Some interesting things happening in this dark song, particularly on the surf guitar.

Touranga dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Chop chord surf thrash, pick slide fuzz, dramatic drums a la "Mar Gaya," and an ominous sound drive "Touranga" home for the kill. It's stompy and gutty, with a brooding melody line.

Hava Nagila dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's arrangement is thrashed and pummeled with the garage door open. Well played, and amped with shouts of "hey!"

Hey Hey dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish chords open, a Dick Dale-ish melody runs amok, and some jammin' runs ensue. Way out at the end of the track is some reverbed talking as if you're in the bathroom when the Bikini Men launch into their closing number.