Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfin' Around The World Vol. IIdotdotdot
artworkLike volume one, this issue contains six bands providing eighteen songs. The quality ranges from good to awful, both performance wise and sound wise. Here's the scoop.
Picks: Straight Eight, Our Favorite Martian, The Eliminator, Twistin' Off A Cliff, Mega Cycle, Haulin' Honda, Not So Quiet, Moon Relay, El Camino, Tiki Torture, Reverb Shot, Pabst Blue Ribbon, XK-E, Surf Party, Shock Wave, Cattle Prod, Tiger Guitars, The Hearse

Track by Track Review

Straight Eight dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavily reverbed, "Straight Eight" is a melodic trad track with a slightly noodly riff and an infectious beat. It features rapid drum and sullen organ under a thin-stringed but cool melody. It gets a little tiring because it doesn't change enough.

Our Favorite Martian dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Our Favorite Martian" is quite traditional and very cool. Solid energy and a reverent sound. A great cover of the Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics song.

The Eliminator dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Eliminator" is a straight surf track with cool drums and an interesting riff. Lots of changes make the simplicity tolerable and memorable. The cut off at the end sounds like they were about to play another song and the scissors were employed, or something. It's a cool track. This doesn't sound much like the Japanese outfit or the San Diego band of the last decade that grew out of the remnants of the Surf Piranhas. I'm guessing that this is yet another band using the name.

Twistin' Off A Cliff dot
Garage (Instrumental)

Awful horrid sound and a really boring melody in there somewhere. The sound is so bad I couldn't get passed it. The title implies a cover of Ronny Kae and the Saints' "Drums Fell Off A Cliff," but it's not. Real drek!

Mega Cycle dot
Surf Trash (Instrumental)

The tune is disinteresting. Horrid ambient stereo recording in a big barn from across the street. Remember what it sounded like in the bathroom at the Fillmore? Just take out the sound of the urinals and this is it. Awful!

Haulin' Honda dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty raw cover of the Richie Podolor-Hondells tune. It's a good track, but unremarkable.

Not So Quiet dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A great Richard Podolor song and Evan Foster does a good job with it here with a simple arrangement and solid performance. The sound is a little thin, but otherwise it's a solid track.

Moon Relay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine cover of the Vistas' single. "Moon Relay" is not often covered. The guitar tones are great, the tempo is hot, and the playing is wonderful. I like this a lot.

El Camino dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"El Camino" is actually a cover of "Flip Side" from Rich Clayton and the Rumbles. It's OK, but not really remarkable.

Tiki Torture dot
Surf (Instrumental)

A horrible recording of a simple progression... boring and really hard to listen to. It has lots of death ridden nasty angst and way too much reverb, and the whole thing is distorted.

Reverb Shot dot
Surf (Instrumental)

A drum oriented fifties progression in thin sound. Next!

Pabst Blue Ribbon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pabst Blue Ribbon" is really the Original Surfaris' stomper "Moment Of Truth" with a bit of "Church Key" thrown in for disguise. It is not as punchy as later Untamed Youth recordings, but rather is more frat-like. Still, it's a butt mover and a solid surf track.

XK-E dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"XK-E" original melody is strong. This infectious track is rhythmic and bouncy, and sports optimism galore. This is perhaps the definitive Boss Martians song. Totally excellent.

Surf Party dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Husky and the Sandmen continue to play great surf, but in this case, the sound is thin and hides the band's edge. The Astronauts' "Surf Party" is done with spirit and fun.

Shock Wave dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

They couldn't play this any slower could they? A reasonable version of Zorba & the Greeks' "Shockwave," but not particularly memorable.

Cattle Prod dot
Surf (Instrumental)

A dangerous dark throbbing vibrato progression driven into the ground. I'm sure post teen over indulged beer drinkers would talk right through it and then yell Yeah! when they stop playing, but no one would actually listen, would they? Distorted sound.

Tiger Guitars dot
Garage (Instrumental)

A boring fifties progression delivered with awful bathroom sound. Yuk!

The Hearse dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Hearse" is a killer song written by Lee Hazelwood and cut by Al Casey as it was written, slow and dirgie, then by the Astronauts, who sped it up. Much later, these guys took it and poured the pound on it... The lock-sync guitar/drums/bass opening glissando is nothing short of amazing!!! This is their best recording ever. Lee Hazelwood never intended this kind of pounding assault!