Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
CHUM - Fighting Wordsdotdotdotdot
artworkFighting Words wanders in wide swath defined by outliers of surf and a kind of surf metal thrash. They certainly occupy their own sound, and, as they say, "it's not your father's surf." Aggressive and adventurous, with art and grit.
Picks: The Ballad of Jack Hackett, Bert-Tail-Rail, Sandblaster, White Whiskey, Uncontrollable Urge, Swagger, Rift Zone, Acetone on Acetate, Heartburn & Goosebumps, No Fre Fez, Coyote (Crossin' the Border), Garcias

Track by Track Review


The Ballad of Jack Hackett dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Eerie sustain and dark drama slowly launch a splendidly dangerous song. A circular riff creates flow as drums and bass rise. Once unto the song, the drama yields to a sense of open wonder, bridged with gnarly whammy and ominous sound. "The Ballad of Jack Hackett" is a very cool song!

Bert-Tail-Rail dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Bert-Tail-Rail" seems to me to be very rock oriented, with big slide slither guitar on a threatening blues structure. Like an intense fallout of the Chris Darrow and Max Buda concept launched with their Eye Of The Storm album. This is intense and very cool!

Sandblaster dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Spitfire double picking and aggression in bass boom and drums. Thrashing glissandos, rapid-fire chop chords, and more. "Sandblaster" is a hard rockin' thrasher.

White Whiskey dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Gritty and whammified, "White Whiskey" has a serious, no nonsense backwoods still feeling, as if the boys guarding the place are in the band. The Magic Bag-like voicings are quite disturbing. Big and aggressive.

Uncontrollable Urge dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Well no, I never would have suggested Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge" as an instro, but for CHUM, this is superb vehicle. The chop and darkness are exactly right, and the gritty glissandos take it right into the brine. Even the long sliding bass lines are spot-on. Big and cool.

Swagger dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

Bluesy in a back woods pompadour kind of way, "Swagger" marches in lock step with switchblade at the ready.

Rift Zone dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Riff rockin' and hard driving, "Rift Zone" has a big and menacing feeling. Some double picked lines and pumping bass with strong drums deliver power and volume.

Acetone on Acetate dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Dry chop chords and grungy glissandos, with a tasty little riff, plus big ringing-distortion chords amp the tune up. Angular and heavy, with power and angst.

Heartburn & Goosebumps dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Muted, reverbed, surf and weird. This highly original number is compelling just for its arrangement and structure alone. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on, yet it's held together by that muted relentless out-front pattern. Yikes!

No Fre Fez dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Muted surf, unusual ideas, surf pattern driven, and pretty cool. The dark sax adds character much in the Joey Lyou's horn enhanced The Halibuts' tune. "No Fre Fez" is all fun, with a light bouncy feel and surf revival feel. Excellent.

Coyote (Crossin' the Border) dotdotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Surf (Instrumental)

Tom toms and a spaghetti western whistler with acoustic guitar and long bass notes paint a forlorn picture of desperation in the desert. Haunting and lonely, with a fine surf guitar break. "Coyote (Crossin' the Border)" is a very cool track, perhaps the most interesting and well written on the Fighting Words album.

Garcias dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Garcias" is an easy backtrack with great drums and groovy bass, and long growling guitar. It's topped off by Elizabeth Jolley's narrative listing all those folks that have helped CHUM along the way. Just for its inventiveness, it's well worth listening to. Too cool!