Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Boss Martians - The Jetaway Sounds Of...dotdot
artworkIt's been a while since the Boss Martians released an album, and this one was in the can for a year. Evan Foster is a nice guy, and his band can be great, as witnessed by some of the tunes on their Dionysus CD and the incredible XK-E. This album, I'm afraid, should have stayed in the can. It is very VERY repetitious song to song, and especially within songs. The overuse of sixties fades during the repetition at the end just highlights how repetitious the song is. I had trouble listening to it all at once, and most tracks failed the memory test. The two vocals seem to be an attempt at being the Astronauts, but without the power, punch, or interest level of a "Competition Coupe." The whole sound of the band has shifted away from Evan's strong melody centric earlier material to a sound somewhere between the Tiki Tones [who do it MUCH better], the Viceroys, and the Astronauts resting. It seems to me, if you're gonna cop the Viceroys' sound, the least you can do is cover their exquisite "Tiger Shark" and "Seagrams." The recording is pretty good, though it would have been nice if the drummer was in the room at the time. There are entirely too many tracks with jet plane sounds. The whole cutesy 60's notion of creating a "new sound" by dubbing sound effects onto the track and naming the songs after some subject area [jets, in this case] was childish in the early sixties, and now it's just annoying. The stereo is very shallow, barely audible without headphones. On top of that, the vinyl is noisy, with a lot of surface noise clocking in at a hideously loud -15 dB, and plenty of pops built right in. The packaging is a cross between cheap lounge and the usual Hillsdale nonsense from Riff Ryan - KEWB that just isn't funny any more. I had been looking forward to this album, partly due to Evan's enthusiasm about it, and partly because I really liked the earlier Boss Martians work. I was very surprised, and quite disappointed.
Picks: Hanger Party Stomp, Lost Luggage Frenzy, One Loud Turbine, Stewardess, More Peanuts Please, Ode To A Baggage Handler, Irving The Swingin' Air Traffic Controller, 2 On A Wing, The Airline Broke My Surfboard, What'd I Fly, Boeing, Boeing, Gone!

Track by Track Review

Hanger Party Stomp dotdot
Surf PNW Frat Airline (Instrumental)

Pacific Northwest (PNW) Frat Rock repetitious and not very interesting

Lost Luggage Frenzy dotdotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

A bit like the Tiki Tones... nice number with a good melody, though a lot like "Hanger Party Stomp." The organ is subdued and that's good. It could do without the out-of-place Dick Dale ending.

One Loud Turbine dotdotdotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

Richie Podolor's tune in a standard arrangement. Very nicely done. Two problems here, no writer's credit, and the vinyl distortion really masks what's going on with delays, and the drum kits is lost on the mushy pressing. Too bad, cuz it would be damn good if it were on CD.

Stewardess, More Peanuts Please dotdot
Surf Airline PNW Tiki (Instrumental)

A Tiki-PNW that's just OK.

Ode To A Baggage Handler dotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

A riff and a sound that doesn't ever arrive at a destination. Background music for terminals.

Irving The Swingin' Air Traffic Controller dotdotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

Stupid name, and just barely enough melody to keep it afloat. Borderline acceptable.

2 On A Wing dotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

Tiring repetitious.

The Airline Broke My Surfboard dotdotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

Head and shoulders above the rest of this album. An adequate melody line, a great title, and a satisfying sound (strained through the cheap pressing).

What'd I Fly dotdot
Surf Airline R&B (Instrumental)

A variation on Dick Dale's arrangement of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" without writers credit... what gives? A so-so surfism, softer than Dale, and not particularly interesting.

Boeing, Boeing, Gone! dotdot
Surf Airline (Instrumental)

A Dick Dale guitar intro, and organ lead, a nice melody, and then a guitar lead... over and over and over and over... doesn't cut it.