Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Cosmonauti - Fuel Stopdotdotdotdot
artwork21 songs recorded live at Fuel in San Jose, California one great Sunday afternoon-evening in 1999. The band was in top form, and the packed house was completely enthralled. The show as delivered in two sets. Totally excellent.
Picks: Just Surf, 7th Level / Green Bay, First Kiss, Cosy Boy, Spring Fiesta, Sea Storm / Blue Surf, Driver, Shindig, (Death Of A) Matador, Maserati / She's Not There, Bikini Angel, Goldfinger, Secret Agent Man, Spanish Waves, Thank You Paul / Dolly Dance, Lazy, Summer Girl, Man Of Mystery, Pressure, Ventures Medley, Hawaii Five-0, Exotica Fever (Jinxy), Foot Tapper, Mexico Beach, The Wedge, Wipe Out, Miserlou, Out Of Limits, Shark Attack

Track by Track Review


Just Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fluid melodic and sad, this floats on a melody dripping Italian while suggesting the shore in a holiday kinda way. As the opening track, this is marred as I search for a working mix.

7th Level / Green Bay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fine merger between two excellent I Cosmonauti tracks. "7th Level" uses glissandoes and Paul Johnson or Sandals influenced melody ideas with great energy and flair. It captures your heart and your imagination with whammy dipped notes and solid drive.

About two minutes in, thundering drums and playful almost tropical melody elements announce "Green Bay," with its smooth whammified island sound combine here to deliver a most listenable experience. Happy and imaginative. Excellent!

First Kiss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendidly enjoyable tune, with a tropical sound and wonderful lilt. It's melodic, fluid, and really nicely structured. It's Italian roots show in complimentary ways, giving this a summer holiday kinda feel. It dances across the monitors with energy and playful delight.

Cosy Boy dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid track written with a melodic European feel and a breezy afternoon sadness. It opens with solo guitar gentility, and moves to a rolling piece. Very pretty.

Spring Fiesta dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Here we have a rolling number with a fluid melody line and a smooth sense of motion. It's mighty tasty in a vacation traveling kinda way. It hints of far away places and local scenery. A carefree feel and a sense of wide-eyed adventure.

Sea Storm / Blue Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I Cosmonauti have created a really cool and moody number with "Sea Storm," with a mysterious air and a trad sound. The damped second guitar is spot-on, and the melody is strong and infectious. This is solid driving surf, with touches of "Run Away" (as done by the Chantays) drama and the sounds of the surf. This is the sort of thing Jon and the Nightriders might do, though not as well recorded. Solid surf!

Almost as grand is "Blue Surf." Expecting a shimmering surf tune from the title, like the Surfaris' "Blue Surf" or Davie Allan's "Beyond The Blue," I was first lulled into acceptance of the assumption from the first verse, but quickly enough, the pace doubled up, the drive kicked in, and the flying drums and guitars shredded, eventually double picking a solid surf adventure. The hand claps add a splendid pro edge to a potential single. Is this the Patents' tune? Fine track.

Driver dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Speedy damped surfisms, swelling surf twang, and a brilliant soundscape. This is not particularly melodic, but it is very infectious and very well thought out. I found it hard to stop playing. I don't know why, but I expected a surf cover of the Beatles' song. Thank goodness it isn't.

Shindig dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky and percussive, the writing here has much of the lilt of Floyd Cramer and the sportiness of Duane Eddy or Chet Atkins. Speedy and playful.

(Death Of A) Matador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very cool double picked original with a fiery delivery. It's a bit of a tango and is blessed with twinges of "Malaguena." A very nice low-E pounder - intense and powerful. I like it better here than alone on comps, where it has appeared before. It has plenty of solid energy.

Maserati / She's Not There dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Maserati" has a "Music To Watch Girls By" feel, this ode to one of one of the great sports cars drives with the open road top down feel of the Mermen's "Lonely Road," but with pure optimism and more of a sunny afternoon breezy feel.

"She's Not There" is the Zombies' song. Once you hear it instrumentalized, it's a wonder no one did it before. It's melodic and very cool. It sings of the fluid waters and an open road.

Bikini Angel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody of "Bikini Angel" moves with a playful lilt against a percussive second guitar for a most appealing effect. The fluid lead work is very smooth. It suitably has a bit of the girl-watcher feel.

Goldfinger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is quite a refreshing treatment of the James Bond film score. It has the power of the Shirley Bassey version without the opera. Playful, slightly sad, and just plain nice.

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty straight cover of the PF Sloane / Steve Barri TV theme from Patrick Magooan's British series Danger Man in it's American syndication under the name, with solid arranging and good tone contrasts. The twin-note lead lines in the bridge are cool. It retains the edge of Johnny Rivers' guitar in the original, but is faster and more playful.

Spanish Waves dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Similar to "Locals Only," this is a crunchy number with some speed and excellent drums. The guitar lines display fast fret-boarding and a romantic Mediterranean sound. Lots of energy, and plenty of spiff to go around.

Thank You Paul / Dolly Dance dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a long and heartfelt thanks to all who made their trip to the USA a success, I Cosmonauti drop right into "Thank You," which is one of their more surfy numbers. Some double picking, a playful melody, a bit of an edge, and a well developed arrangement. This is a grand tune, with warm whammy and a picturesque melody.

"Untitled" rocks mightily with glissandoes and power, and a ton of twango. The fiery lead work is precise and fluid. Excellent.

Lazy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In their words, this is "a very lazy song dedicated to all lazy Italians." More to the point, it's a very fluid breezy afternoon island number with unlimited tropical imagery. It drips swaying palms and hammocks.

Summer Girl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Summer Girl" is a bouncy track with plenty of fun in every verse. Excellent driving beat, melodic guitar, excellent chunk, and a lot of lusty joy.

Man Of Mystery dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Shadows' classic is given the Italian treatment for a more percussive and bouncy feel. Very fluid and really fun. Hot dog!

Pressure dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyramids' "Pressure" is done very well, with the speed and fluid surf feel. Utterly infectious, with lots of spunk and charm. An exceptional cover!

Ventures Medley dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very respectful treatment of the Ventures own medley of their early hits "Walk Don't Run," "Perfidia," and "Lullaby of the Leaves." It races by in just 3:27, but it really satisfies.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jack Lord lives here, with Danno looking on as Kam Fong comes to the rescue. This is a very fun cover, with lots of embellishments and flair.

Exotica Fever (Jinxy) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Mexican flavored fantasy plays with laughter the way "Pipeline" plays with the motion of the waves. It is a fast paced, delightfully infectious track with solid drive and magnetic tone.

Foot Tapper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Shadows tune with the Italian reverb crew let loose on it with no regard for tradition. While it's pretty straight, it's way more playful than the original. very cool.

Mexico Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This moderately paced tune oozes Mexico, with the addition of vibes, it says tropical with piniata flair and castanets percussion. It's a visual, delightful, and melodic picture of a cantina on a lazy afternoon. Good listening.

The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Despite a slightly flawed intro, this is a very strong performance of Dick Dales' classic "Wedge" delivered with liquid glissandoes and fiery double picked leads. Very much in the pocket.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A crowd pleaser, this is a moderately delivered cover of the Surfaris' classic hit "Wipe Out." The drums are quite cool.

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This has to be the heaviest performance of the evening. It's got Dick Dale written all over it. very fast and furious, with exceptional picking and lots of fire!!! Amazing.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mar-Kets' "Out Of Limits" is bantered about with reverence and care. Less ringing, but more edgy, this is a solid performance.

Shark Attack dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Atlantics tune, "dedicated to California, the temple of surf." It's a fine rendition, with excellent tone and temperament. Maybe it's less happy, but it's not less driven. The mid section is inventive and powerful.