Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Planet Surfdotdotdotdot
artworkA solid modern surf compilation, featuring the Ultras, the Mermen (an alternate version of Ocean Beach and "Whales," the Aqua Velvets, the Eliminators, and the Sandals.
Picks: Sax On The Beach, Nice Face, Ocean Beach, Hawaiian Blue, Bone Cruncher, Ohh-La-La, Death Tube, The Whales, The Lonely Sea, Martini Time, Theme From 'The Endless Summer'

Track by Track Review


Sax On The Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Secret affairs at the rocks, funky guitar licks, twin guitar almost metal sounds, and where's the sax? Bruce Unsworth plays it, but it's pretty far down in the mix, mostly for effect. Rhythmic and percussive, and interesting.

Nice Face dotdotdotdot
Ominous Surf Monster (Instrumental)

Evil dark surf sludge twang. This depends on string bending, and that ominous low-E drive. It is occasionally punctuated with "nice face" comments, which bring out the Vegas runway aspects of this very tribal and primal tune. It's hard not to like this, with it's power and major twang. The middle part is completely different, with a lighter, more delicate melody, and an almost playful lilt, just before it breaks into a heavy low-E twistorama of intense energy. This is an unusual and bitchin' track.

Ocean Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This early version of the Mermen's modern surf classic, by it's very juxtaposition against the most traditional tracks here, demonstrates the surf basis for the band's originals. It is not a huge step from here to their more prog oriented tracks, nor is it distant from their profoundly powerful covers of trad tunes either. Melodic, striking, and infectious. This tune has been covered by other surf bands, testifying to its power.

Hawaiian Blue dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Poi and pineapple, luau dancers and tourists, after dinner stroll on the beach. A perfect backdrop for a movie scene of two people meandering romantically on the beach at dusk as the credits roll. Beautiful track.

Bone Cruncher dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the first slapped note, this track simply pummels. High energy, fine writing, exquisite sounds, and infectious down-the-highway kinda pace. The big whammy chord break is really cool, especially where it yields to back to the prime current.

Ohh-La-La dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Echoey production, crunchy feel, edgy bluesy, but not even slightly surfy. It's a pleasant enough track, but didn't grab me at all.

Death Tube dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the beginning rising notes that climb to a fever pitch of double picked power, this is a monster. Sludgoramic hugeness is everywhere. This is dangerous, evil, and like Link Wray on a 9'6 McCoy with his Fender after too much coffee. Very strong track! You're completely spent when it finally settles into it's dribbling break. You better rest fast, 'cause the mayhem hinted at by the dementia as the break ends is unavoidable when the song comes to a crashing end, or is it? Nope, there's manic reverb crashing yet to come, and another verse of the power melody. Finally, it settles to a swoosh of whitewater at the edge of the sand. Whew!

The Whales dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This alternate and very haunting version of Jim Thomas' highly effective visualization of the hump back whale utilizes a stylized whale call as the vehicle for the lead lines. Strikingly beautiful and chilling. Emotionally powerful and down right spooky.

The Lonely Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Acoustic guitar, gentle delivery, artful playing, soft tones... it's all too pretty and dusk light romantic.

Martini Time dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This highly rhythmic track splashes with fine guitar generated verandah scenes, building slowly like an impending evening in the canteena. A great track with lots of soothing sounds and hot drums. very infectious! The Aqua Velvets were into Lounge before it was cool. This is so boss!

Theme From 'The Endless Summer' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Twangs were "discovered" by World Pacific (record company) after becoming the Sandells. They were heavily influenced by the Ventures and Duane Eddy. Gaston Georis once told me they didn't do too much of the staccato Surf style, which they only occasionally used. They always preferred the dryer sound. They ended up recorded the title track for Bruce Brown's seminal Surf film The Endless Summer. By the time the film emerged, they had changed their name again to the Sandals. Founding members Walter and Gaston Georis now live in Carmel and operate a restaurant and their Tri-Surf Records label. "Theme From The Endless Summer" is a world renowned tune. It incorporates nontraditional instruments and has been an influence to many others. Their two nineties CD's are rerecordings of their classic tracks, with greater spirit and speed.