Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Chantays - Next Setdotdotdotdot
artworkThe first album from the Chantays in over 20 years. Unlike most of the old school bands reunited to catch a few moments in the sun of the new summer of surf, this band has more energy and more writing skill than before. The guitar sound is huge. They've moved from their original two guitar line up to an Astronauts style three guitar onslaught, and they approach it all with the oomph of a Dick Dale. Oh yeah, there are some ho-hum vocals, but they are better than they were in the sixties. A really good reappearance from one of my favorite vintage bands. They have created a new style that is fresh and catchy, a lick gone mad that permeates their modern material, making them instantly identifiable.
Picks: Killer Dana, Bailout At Frog Rock, Baja, Pipeline, Mr. Moto, El Conquistador, South Swell, Hot Doggin', Blunderbus, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Penetration

Track by Track Review

Killer Dana dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Killer Dana" is a simple ditty with an infectious nature. This performance is less energetic, but has more finesse and a more effected lead guitar, with a bit of phasing or flanging.

Bailout At Frog Rock dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The second best track from "Next Set" recut with a lot less oomph in the guitar sounds, and mixed with the lead way too low for my tastes. It's a great song, but I don't care for the mix, which I think prevents it from being a five star track.

Baja dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The delicacy of the song is maintained despite the bigger sound. This is a fine version of Lee Hazelwood's epic surf standard.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One can tire of covers of this surf archetype, but who has more right to cover it than the originators? This is a great rendition, and it is the only one I can think of that correctly uses the same first note gap that was on the original recording. It's funny how I never noticed it's absence on the plethora of covers, but the second it came over the monitors here, I said "yeah - perfect!" What a great version. The keyboards are just right in a modern semi-piano sound, as the song was intended to have. Wonderful!

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's tune surfed up, but alas it is just another cover of the Belairs' classic.

El Conquistador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the more interesting of their period works. Its clear Spanish influence and whammy are still quite attractive. The arrangement is not too far from the original, and the result is still quite attractive.

South Swell dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Spanish / R&B influenced number with a nice melody and arrangement. Very cool listening.

Hot Doggin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A thin guitar sound loses the energy required to carry off this Astronauts classic. The resulting delivery is weak... competent and enjoyable, just missing the power the song demands.

Blunderbus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is such a strange song, with its stop-start abruptness and an unusual melody line. It's the riff Dick Dale has used since the mid sixties to intro What'd I Say and today calls a song. The Chantays are the original source of the riff, as evidenced on their first album from 1963.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdot
Cattle Drive Surf (Instrumental)

Quite different from the version they recorded for their first album, but very nice indeed. The toms and the growling guitar make this a good listen. It is less intense, but more mysterious.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Using the arrangement of the Ventures version of this most familiar Pyramids standard, this is a rather unremarkable cover. I have never liked the Ventures arrangement, finding the added accents to be childish and annoying.