Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Caminos - Test Pilot!dotdotdotdot
artworkAlbum number to from Vancouver's Los Caminos is chock full of dark textures, great melodies, dramatic imagery, and cool ideas. Heavy reliance on surf's sense of flow, spaghetti western's imagery, and modern rock's tonality, Test Pilot! is a very satisfying release.
Picks: Hail To The King, Test Pilot, Walking With The Devil, Waikiki Detective, Sentenza, Skull Catcher, Torro Torro, Malachi Crunch, Tijuana Standoff, Thunder Chief, Sound Barrier, Johnny Raygun

Track by Track Review

Hail To The King dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Big dark double picked drama opens "Hail To The King," which takes on a "Surf Beat" kind of beat and chord structure. The melody is slightly Spanish, and the tone edgy rock. Moody and dangerous, and compelling too. There are places here where it brings a chill. Very interesting.

Test Pilot dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Long chords and an adventurous melody calls to a foggy drive in search of surf, with the sun just beginning to burn off the mist. "Test Pilot" has a very cool melody line and thick sound.

Walking With The Devil dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Right from the Bobby Fuller second guitar pattern, you know this is going to be sultry and cool. While there are other similarities as well to "Our Favorite Martian," its so completely different in textures and imagery that it has a totally fresh and vital appeal. I like this a lot.

Waikiki Detective dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Waikiki Detective" is an easy moving piece with a very fine melody and a fifties pop instrumental feel lurking beneath the thoroughly modern tone and arrangement. It's a fun, easy moving track that sneaks up on you.

Sentenza dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

The moody beginning suggests spaghetti westerns, and the song surely rewards that expectation. "Sentenza" is haunting, rich, and melodic. Its slightly sad melody emotionally connects. The darkest before the dawn realization within its sound is stark and very pleasing.

Skull Catcher dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

So, you wouldn't expect a sing with a title like "Skull Catcher" to be a romantic ditty, now would you. You'd be right! It's espionage jazz twinged, harshly toned for tension, and rhythmic. The sweeping drama of John Barry scarred with 15 grit wet or dry is very affective.

Torro Torro dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Stinging chords, a stomp ethic, and rockin' attack drive this right along. The occasional feedback adds to the mystique. I'm not sure how the title was arrived at, but "Torro Torro" is a rocker.

Malachi Crunch dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A circling melody riff hovers like a bumble bee at a lemon tree, and the breaks sparkle with coastal flair. "Malachi Crunch" reminds me a bit of Big Guitars From Texas, though only tangentially.

Tijuana Standoff dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A great second guitar riff and straight surf beat carry "Tijuana Standoff" to its menacing drama, while the melody paints the picture. Big double picked bridges and haunting lines ride above moody bass. This is immediately impressive, and stays with you.

Thunder Chief dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Big locomotive whistle chords and an almost Link Wray meets Juicy Lucy sound makes "Thunder Chief" quite cool. It soars and grits and calls from the rails. very cool!

Sound Barrier dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Slower and moodier than the rest of the album, "Sound Barrier" is an optimistic track with a dark underside. Long sustain, haunting melody lines, and a dungeonous spookiness add up to a compelling track. It's easy to imagine this running under the credits of a film.

Johnny Raygun dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Happy adventures in super heroes and imaginary friends. This is the sort of song that's hard not to like. Fun, flippant, and grinning cool, yet there's that Los Caminos dark underbelly.