Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|After a millennium (slight exaggeration) looking for the CD version of the Dragsters's 1989 album Stoked, it finally fell into my lap quite by accident. Such is the way of the world. Todd Novak now lives within spitting distance of KFJC and fronts a rising country band called the Cowlicks and his remarkably wonderful side project Hamster Ranch. |
The Dragsters were an east coast band with a solid sense of melody and a sound dangling between sax oriented surf-n-rod and eighties jangle pop. The music is often infectious, always competent.
Picks: Dragster Beach, Tractor Pull, Nitro Jungle Woodie, Goldfinger, Radio Surf, Surfing With The Godz, Maria, Gidget Shack / Devil's Town
Track by Track Review
Hot Rod Surf (Instrumental)
Opening with creaming engines passing via the Doppler effect, this hard driving twangy track sports lots of power and warmth. The tone is not trad, but the feel is. Excellent track.
Mondo Bizarre Surf (Instrumental)
A great guitar riff opens this track, yielding to fuzz vibrato... it's got an Oriental feel, a quirkiness throughout, and a solid sax break. Totally bizarre, and very appealing.
Fifties Sax (Instrumental)
Riff rockin' instrumental fare, fifties sax leads, and great pounding drums. It's pretty pumped in its own way, yet too riffy for my taste.
Spy Surf (Instrumental)
This is a very fine instrumental treatment of the spy theme. Nothing radical or new, just a solid professional performance.
Interesting lead riffology, though not at all surfy. "Radio Surf" is fun, but also unmemorable.
Big guitar bang and twang rides high in a hard driving bluesy format with nasty sax and ample guitar riffs. A line or two of "Peter Gunn" adds to the experience. Not very melodic, yet it has the power of attraction. The full title is "Full Metal Sax (Surfing With The Godz)."
"Maria" is from West Side Story. It's a natural for surfing up, since it's melodic and very fluid. The Dragsters use ringing sustained guitar tones, and give it an island quality. This is very pleasing, and gets plenty of response whenever I play it on my show. A fine interpretation, and quite different from either the Mermen or the Slackmates versions.
Gidget Shack / Devil's Town
"Gidget Shack" is a shiny waterfront instro, with sax and ringing chords. "Devil's Town," on the other hand, is a slower saucy waterfront bar epic with laughter and a snarling sax. They go together like oil and vinegar.