Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Counterpoint - Now And Then
|Counterpoint are a British instrumental band whose sound is part surf, part Euro instro based. This CD is a compilation from '86 through '95. In some ways, this is a variation on the oldies review band for corporate parties, though it is a lot better than that might imply. It does contain some fine Euro instros and a couple of surprisingly surfish tracks. Now And Then is a very good CD... a worthwhile addition to your library. The 3 star rating is based on this being a surf CD. If you like Euro instros, as I also do, this rates 4 stars.|
Picks: Counter-Blast II, Surfin' Crazee, Saratoga, Kick Out, Gringo, Windy And Warm, The Deep, The Tube, Counter-Attack, Hell Surfer, Kyoto Doll, Surf Rider, Counter-Feet, Time-Lag, Counter-Blast II / Nut Rocker / Ghost Riders In The Sky / Wonderful Land / Telstar / James Bond Theme / Batman / Walk, Don't Run / Red River Rock / Classical Gas / Wipe Out
Track by Track Review
Surf Medley (Instrumental)
"Counter-Blast" is a medley of a billion tunes, as follows:
Ghost Riders In The Sky
James Bond theme
Walk, Don't Run
Red River Rock
It is a well thought out medley, but mostly non-surf arrangements and many non-surf instros. Eleven songs, one originally a surf tune (two others frequently in surf sets), and ten rock instros. And, after all that, it fades out instead of comes to an end. For my money, thee surf medleys are Jon & the Nightriders "Splashback" and Davie Allan & the Arrows' "Stoked On Surf."
Wholly un-surflike arrangement, sound, and structure. A rock instro, and not too melodic at that. More a jam than a song.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
A low-E melodic near-surf number that is endearing and listenable. It would be better with some changes to the textures, but it will fit nicely alongside the flat water lazy lagoon variety of surf instro. It has island imagery, and a pleasing melody line.
Euro Surf (Instrumental)
"Kick Out" is an instrumentalization of the ancient sappy MOR classic "I Get A Kick Out Of You." It is very Shadows-like, with a slight amount of surfiness. Melodic and pretty, it has a definite Euro sound, though slightly more rounded. This is not the classic Safaris (Pat and Lolly Vegas) tune on Valiant Records.
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)
Spaghetti western without the pasta sauce... none of the Italian movie feel, but the melody works for that genre. It's a listenable track, well performed, but easily dismissed.
John D. Loudermilk's lone contribution to the surf genre, with cool cowsurf sensibilities, and the same kind of infectiousness that one finds in (John Anderson's (Neon Spores) "Madame Prairie Dog." Fun and good listening.
Slow and sluggish low-E Euro thing with some interest, but nothing special. Little surf about it. Pretty repetitious.
Euro Surf (Instrumental)
This is more surfy than most tracks here, but playing single notes faster instead of double picking doesn't really capture the power this track could produce if double picked. It does contain glissandoes. It is a solid Euro attempt at a misunderstood genre.
Reminiscent of Lonnie Mack if he were to do less frilly material. It does have a certain surf ominousness to it. The melody is nice, and there seems to be a seventies melody view of surf here, semi corporate, but necessarily the bad side of what that might imply. I found it to be interesting and enjoyable.
This Ventures tune from the tamer Gerry McGee period is constructed in a surf vein, with the damped second guitar and rhythmic backtrack, but the lead is a bit too repetitious and shallow, and the "Diamond Head" string swipes are too derivative. It's cool, enjoyable, but not more than average.
This is one of the Japanese only tracks from the Ventures that wasn't too remarkable originally. It was recorded poorly at the the 1993 Pipeline Convention. The performance is quite nice, though the sound is really ambient.
This is a fairly pedestrian performance from the 1993 Pipeline Convention. While it's not really remarkable for this too-often covered tune, it is much better than most UK visions of surf. Of course, it's based on the Ventures' original and not the liquid groove of the Lively Ones.
This highly rhythmic and infectious surf track is worth the price of the CD. It is a far cry above the rest of the tracks here, with some real surf sound and sensibility, and a melodic and spirited feel that begs for replays. I've upgraded my rating of this track from 4 star to 5 because after a very long time, it remains very infectious and attractivce. It has an interesting storm on the coast sadness into optimism in the new dawn sound. A very good track.
Nearly as strong as "Counter-Feet," this track is marred only by the too-present organ in the mix. Otherwise, it has a solid rhythmic structure that is quite catchy, and a fine simple melody, plus a gutsy surfy sound. The rolling backtrack makes this a great track to drive the highways to.
Counter-Blast II / Nut Rocker / Ghost Riders In The Sky / Wonderful Land / Telstar / James Bond Theme / Batman / Walk, Don't Run / Red River Rock / Classical Gas / Wipe Out
Surf Medley (Instrumental)
A longer better recording and performance than the version opening this CD, but still not as interesting as it could be. It's fuller sounding, more together, more thumpy, rounder, and much more solid. Fun, just not very surfy.