Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Dubceks - As American As Apple Pie (demo)dotdotdot
artworkHere's the deal! If you're looking for surf, keep looking. If you're looking for great sound, cover your ears. If you're looking for tight musicianship, never mind. All that said, The Dubceks play some very disturbed music that's slightly based in surf, strained through the Leslie of your back-mind, inverted by nagging morose thoughts, and then played out of tune. Still reading? Good, because under all of this there lies some potentially engaging and very developable surf and progressive rock. These are just basement tapes, not even demos really, but their stark originality is either brilliant or utterly serendipitous. You decide, if you're brave enough.
Picks: The Legend Of Amy And Burgers, (Falling Back Into) Bad Habits, Genevieve's Wails, Fourth, Emeff/Emsee, Fourth Slash Film, The Legend Of Amy And Burgers

Track by Track Review


Sharkbait dotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

"Sharkbait" begins as a painfully slow number with a dissonant and tortured guitar. Weirdly bent notes and an intentionally uncomfortable sound. It eventually moves beyond to a song, but the guitar is in a dubious key, rendering it even more uncomfortable, and therein lies the point. You may be on the shore, but Annette is nowhere in sight, nor is she coming back!

The Smiling Waverider dotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

"The Smiling Waverider" is a bit tortured and formative, but the cycling bass line's contrast to the cycling guitar licks and chaotic drums lend an insane asylum feeing to the surf. Those waves may look real, but soon enough, the white-coated mercenaries will bring you back into the cafeteria for milk and cookies.

The Legend Of Amy And Burgers dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Oh that Amy! The slow bass pattern and injected guitar lines warn of disorientation to come. "The Legend Of Amy And Burgers" gradually rises like a relentless march to the end of days. It's really quite amazing how this formative song seems ripe for a dramatic reading. It's not complex or adventurous in the usual sense, but its relentless progress toward infinity is reminiscent of prog's more hypnotic days. It's like waiting for a bus that never comes, but you don't mind.

The Dying Hawaiian dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

The slide guitar lines suggest Winged Eel Fingerling in Honolulu for a wake. Like a slithering Polynesian blues, "The Dying Hawaiian" is a solo journey through a vacation you never want to have, but enjoy watching on TV.

(Falling Back Into) Bad Habits dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Industrial cymbals, cardboard drums, and filthy fuzz darkly paint an image of an inverted asylum. "(Falling Back Into) Bad Habits" may have a melody line, however close to a mere progression it may be, but the lonely desperation is unmistakable. Dangerously lonely.

Genevieve's Wails dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

You are not walking through the woods on your way to Genevieve's house on a sunny afternoon. No, that would be too light hearted for The Dubceks. This dramatic menace, while waiting for a better recording, is chock full of prog scenery and desperate lies. Optimistically morose.

Fourth dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Sad distant whistling, warbling soft chords bent on the wind, and unsettling transitions make this agonizingly plodding number seem even more difficult. In some ways, "Fourth" is like a thesis project, yet there's something really bloody about it.

The Wind dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

"The Wind" is not very windy, but rather kind of sad in a lonely desert cafe sort of way. The tortured guitar licks are sans accompaniment, standing alone like a desert rat on his way to the green room. very interesting.

Emeff/Emsee dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Nearly dark folk progressions filtered through a Van Vliet nightmare dally between song and uncertainty. In some ways, "Emeff/Emsee" is too song-like, with a regular progression and an actual lead melody, but there's always that underbelly of the moor. This could easily be a real surf instro or a backtrack for an experimental Violent Femmes song. Interesting.

The Smiling Waverider dotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

This early solo guitar demo version of "The Smiling Waverider" is oddly more "normal." It's not, of course, with several stops and restarts to gather thoughts.

Fourth Slash Film dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Evil darkness lumbers in your frontal lobe, leaving you to wonder if lobotomy isn't a better outcome. Machine percussion slowly bumps along while the guitar meanders between chords, groaning animal sounds, and dangerous fuzz.

The Legend Of Amy And Burgers dotdotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

Chicken clucking guitar notes begin the tale of "The Legend Of Amy And Burgers." Once into the almost melodic lead lines, the song projects promise abandoned for stark abandonment. Very disturbed!

Messing Around On Am & F dotdot
Dark Progressive Surf (Instrumental)

As the title suggests, "Messing Around On Am & F" is a journey across the chords. Untuned, undisciplined, and unimaginably uncomfortable. It's a very short blast reminiscent of some of Amon Duul II's transitional verses, but unencumbered by tuning.