Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Cave 4 - Bikini Crashdotdotdot
artworkThe Cave 4 are a high spirited garage surf band from the Netherlands. Their earlier singles have provided power edged instro enjoyment. Here, they compile tracks from 1994-1996, and spanning their garage surf and garage fuzz periods. Mostly covers, none of which are credited, and a couple with disguised titles. There are four vocals, the Splatcats' "Surfin' Hearse," "Alfred E. Goes Surfing" (I can't recall who did this originally)" Larry & the Loafers' "Let's Go To The Beach," and "Same All Over The World." Garage fans will dig this, surf fans may find it a bit tedious and low end. The recordings are generally marginal, either if fidelity or mix, most often having demo qualities.
Picks: Shockwave, Malibu Run, Bonneville Stomp, Blast Off, Tribute Pt. 1, Unknown, House On Haunted Hill, Slow, Bikini Crash, Cave 4, Banzai Washout

Track by Track Review

Shockwave dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

The CD opens with a cover of Zorba & the Greeks' "Shockwave." This is a rare riff driven surf obscuro morphed into manic carport edge. It's mighty raw, and intensely energetic. The lead guitar is too low in the mix, with the general din of the recording overpowering the musical talent hiding beneath.

Malibu Run dotdotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

Completely missing the point of the Fender IV's B-side to "Everybody Up," this is both tasty and has a weak guitar tone. The raw edge brings a new feel to the tune by changing its focus from rhythmic highway surf to driven garage surf. An excellent track. When a cover is in the offing, making it stand apart from the original is a necessity, and the Cave 4 succeeded here.

Bonneville Stomp dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

"Bonneville Stomp" is a slower tune, with a simple and low key melody line, and moderate amounts of drama. It's a bit too repetitious, but otherwise nicely composed.

Blast Off dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

Mickey Aversa's "Blast Off" is covered in tasty raw fashion, retaining the melody and structure, but replacing the original's pure surf balance with edgie in-your-face attack. It's a nice treatment.

Tribute Pt. 1 dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of the Surftones' "Cecilia Ann" is completely different in character. The delicacy of the original arrangement is gone, and in it's place is a crash-bang power surge of parking lot proportions. Not as intense as Chachi, Boba Fett & the Wookiee, or as chunky as the Pixies, but quite grungy and cool.

Unknown dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

The Vydells' "Unknown" is morphed into a garage rocker. It doesn't capitalize on the power of the rhythm guitar, but relies on the lead melody. Where the original is well balanced and piercing, the Surf Trio damped and restrained, and the Mermen hugely powerful, this cover provides power small combo crunch. I'm not sure this really works.

House On Haunted Hill dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

Kenny & the Friends's lone single brought from the reverb hall to the body shop, where power overtakes technique, and gives it new life.

Slow dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

It's nice to hear the Cave 4 deliver something with a slower pace and more emphasis on playing. This is a pleasant melody, slightly sad and whammy twanged.

Bikini Crash dotdotdot
Garage Fuzz (Instrumental)

A raw fuzz-o-matic chord progression garage bash-o-matic instro, with more riff than melody, and more raw than power.

Cave 4 dotdotdot
Garage Fuzz (Instrumental)

Theme song chord romp, with a ton of attack and no melody, and a "Wipe Out" like drum solo interspersed. The rock lead hook mid stream is reminiscent of 1968 garage bands, with the Kinks' chord ideas underneath.

Banzai Washout dotdotdot
Garage Fuzz (Instrumental)

The very cool slow and moody introduction yields slowly to the Steve Douglas classic issued by his studio session band the Catalinas. This has none of the sparkle of the original, but uses really big fuzz and flair instead. Heavy power delivery.