Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Dead Rocks - International Brazilian Surfsdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Dead Rocks are one of the few bands perusing riff rock in the surf envelope that make it really work. That's not all they do, but it's quite remarkable how well they do it. Simple and powerful guitar lines, thundering drums, grumbling bass, and a relentless assault on the silence. Ad to that more melodic tracks and psychedelic drama, and you have a loose idea about the Dead Rocks. I like these guys! My only complaint is the frequent harsh left-right panning of guitar and bass in the mix. This is the CD release of their debut album.
Picks: Themme For Rock Is Dead, Banana Hit, Crash, Beach's Bitch, Dead Can Surf, Preciso Me Encontrar, Guaxo, BH-MG, Green Sleeves, Super Ant Monster, Unhead Rider, Maui's Sunset, Love You, Don't Push the Button, Surfing in the Kane, As Rosas Na'o Falam, El Condor Pasa, Billie Buggy, Speaker Stone

Track by Track Review


Themme For Rock Is Dead dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy double picked guitar and a thundering rough tonality come right at you as you launch into "Themme For Rock Is Dead." More about the relentlessness of the sound than melody for sure, yet very powerful and magnetic.

Banana Hit dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

An intriguing riff circles and plunders. "Banana Hit" is demented and in your face all the way. It's as if anger were circling above your head in the dark about to devour you.

Crash dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

"Crash" is intense and yet restrained somehow. Great drums and stop-start energy, intensely relentless. Harsh double picked guitar shimmers with edge. Did I mention the drums here? Superb!

Beach's Bitch dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

This gently shimmered vibrato masterpiece may be pretty in its own way, but that does not mean it's quiet. The melody is haunting and sad, and the bass provides a stable platform for the drums to inject their beat. Quite a nice track.

Dead Can Surf dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Solid nerve-ending intensity, relentless grit, and a fine haunting melody line. Aggressive in its edge, and dark in its imagery. "Dead Can Surf" seems an apt name.

Preciso Me Encontrar dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

"Preciso Me Encontrar" is perhaps more traditional than most songs on this CD. Vibrato chords, a fine melody, a traditional surf beat and bass line. This is a very effective track, with some great reverb action and playing!

Guaxo dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

From the opening cow moo, you know this is going to be quirky. A surf beat, a relentless progression hinting of cowboys on the range, and glissandos. Big twang and great fun.

BH-MG dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Whirling modulated twang in a spy-ish progression, wonderful sustained whammy chords, a dramatic beat, and rumbling ominous bass collide to produce a dark image of danger and a pensive mood. "BH-MG" (which means what?) is a Link Wray-ish song in its simplicity, and it uses drama, space, dementia, and sustain to create great tension.

Green Sleeves dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty straight rendition of this traditional English folk melody. Gutty bass, a surf beat, and reverbed guitar. "Green Sleeves" is a frequently covered tune, widely believed to have been written by King Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn.

Super Ant Monster dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums of tribal drama and super grumble bass support demented intense whammified chords, reverb crashes, double picked guitar, and dark imagery. At first, this song seems repetitious, but soon enough it invokes textural changes, several different bridges, and other elements to make it flow.

Unhead Rider dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato shimmer, a verging-on-mean guitar line, rolling drums, and a relentless sense of forward motion are here in spades. The modulation of the guitar creates a sense of mental imbalance, or perhaps supernatural fear. I presume the "Unhead Rider" is a literal translation that should read "Headless Rider."

Maui's Sunset dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

A cowboy beat and rhythm run beneath this tweaky number. It has a sense of the islands, but more of a sense of the range. Perhaps the subject is the cowboys on the ranches on Big Island. It's quite fun, being hard not to grin as you listen. "Maui's Sunset" would be wonderful while driving south on a coastal highway with the top down at sunset.

Love You dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and shimmering, "Love You" paints a delicate picture of life through rose colored glasses. You can feel the emotional worship between the notes. The occasional ambient tweakery adds a hint of abnormality to the scene, giving it a slight Twilight Zone aura. Very cool!

Don't Push the Button dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

A harsh rippin' glissando crashes into insane whammy chords before unleashing a late-period Dick Dale-ish rage. Like "Nitro," it's a relentless assault, but unlike "Nitro," it's more melodic and more varied in treatment.

Surfing in the Kane dotdotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

This moderately paced piece is spectacular in it's use of vibrato and pick slides. It creates a very crisp image of things that are not the way they should be. Demented, disturbed, weird, and compelling. On occasion, the guitar pans around the room, further upsetting normality. Totally cool!

As Rosas Na'o Falam dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

Long sustain creates a Link Wray-ish edge, while the melody suggest spies and intrigue. Grand chords throb with vibrato and disquieting intensity. While this is more melodic and traditionally structured than much of the Dead Rocks material, it somehow is not as intensely personal.

El Condor Pasa dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool choice of covers. It's done with a light heart and a rock beat.

Most often associated with Simon and Garfunkel, this is really a traditional guitar melody that has undergone a few changes. It was first recorded by Daniel Alomias Robles in 1913,who rewrote the music with Jorge Milchberg in 1933, and put it to Julio Baudouin y Paz' words.

Billie Buggy dotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

"Billie Buggy" is a straight forward rocker with a loud intense sound. It's a lot like the Austin instro sound of the late eighties, all about being big and assaultive.

Speaker Stone dotdotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a spectacular and haunting song. If you like the Mermen, feedback, excellent production ideas, tweaky additives, moody soundscapes, and slightly uneasy feelings, "Speaker Stone" is for you. At 7:45, this is more than twice the length of anything else here. It is a very powerful song that moves dramatically and with intent at a moderate pace. Huge drama, inventive sounds, feedback, and intense moodiness. Psychedelic, swirly, nightmarish, and totally amazing! I don't think I've heard many songs like this since the late sixties. It takes you back to the days of the Fillmore and the Avalon.