Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
CHUM - Surf Pitstopdotdotdotdot
artworkOn April 26th, 2003, CHUM popped into the surf pit to power out almost an hour's worth of punkoidal surf. Their big whammy chord terror can be overwhelmingly powerful and dark.
Picks: J.A.P., What Up Beach, Negative, K-39, 4-Banger, Brown Eye, Raptor, Troffin', The Victor, Sweet Lowdown, Hungry Wolf, Tijuana Taco, Hodad, Nitro, Brand New Hyundai [Cadillac], Surf Pit

Track by Track Review


J.A.P. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"J.A.P." is an intense and semi-traditional surf instro with a melodic edge. Rhythmic and dramatic, it seems like the guitar is too low in the mix, and kinda mushy. The song is a fine example of the power of simplicity. I like the active panning on the whammy chords. It's a song that's power centered. Rhythmic and dramatic, it uses its assaultive nature to drive the woody to the curl.

What Up Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The big intense whammy chords of "What Up Beach," along with its driving riff, make this even bigger live than on disc. Powerful and commanding!

Negative dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A grumbly bass line brings forth drums and finally long tortured whammified chords that lumber before a slow walk to a gruesome end. dark and forbidding. "Negative" lumbers a slow walk to a gruesome end. Dark and forbidding.

K-39 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Challengers' great "K-39" is quite different in this format. On the traditional side, but in trio it lacks the chemistry and foundation of the rhythm guitar, and the straight rock drums in lieu of Hal Blaine's relentless rolling cadence also leaves it somewhat sparse. There's fire and power here, along with a modern overtone.

4-Banger dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"4-Banger" is a new tune with distortion and a grindy pumpin' beat as its main features. Dark and dangerous.

Brown Eye dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums and a churning punk grind guitar and thundering bass plaster you. The bridges give it a traditional reference point, but it's clearly a shortboard assault.

Raptor dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somehow, "Raptor" is way cooler live than on disc. It's a kind of audience participation song, with everyone shouting "Raptor" on que. Not melodic, but a chunky rhythm monster. The narrative mid stream is sorta moron punk beach cool. Thrashy trashy fun.

Troffin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A long whammy chord intro and a progression with a Spanish edge opens this fine song. The melody line is simple but traditional, and catchy. A great surf beat and low down bass support it well, leaving you asking for more. Excellent!

The Victor dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's middle eastern epic "The Victor" is played in some ways the way the Raunch Hands cut it, but a little less intense. A double picked shred fest.

Sweet Lowdown dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow introduction brings on a developing melody with a fluid nature and scenic quality. "Sweet Lowdown" is a nicely written instro with a romantic side to it.

Hungry Wolf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

X's "Hungry Wolf" is thrashed and pumped with grinding distortion. It's all about the tribal beat and bass grumble with punk attitude.

Tijuana Taco dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish lace flows in the breeze of a summer afternoon. A tasteful bit of writing with a sad edge and wistful feel. The distant guitar is on the haunting side due its recessive placement in the mix. On this song, that seems to work.

Hodad dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Punky intensity and fast drums grind the pogo at the cliffs. A little too riffy for my taste.

Nitro dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a big fast power slam version of Dick Dale's "Nitro" that lies somewhere between the original and the Torpedoes. Tuff and fast.

Brand New Hyundai [Cadillac] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Brand New Cadillac" is an old Chip Taylor song that has been done in many formats, but not instrumentally. It works pretty well, especially with punk edge.

Surf Pit dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a monster! Gutty bass and dark howling guitar warn of dangerous winter surf at a place like Mavericks where death rides with you on your board. Long sustained distortion and string bending in a monster surf intro. Tribal drums thundering against the storm. "Surf Pit" doubles the pace mid stream, but it's the long tortured whammy chords that rule!