Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This is a fascinating release. The music is very much as if the band were English at times, and surf at others. In many ways it suggest influence from the Thurston Lava Tube via the keys and the writing. There are a couple of real must-haves here too. The sampled narratives from sci-fi movies has been done to death, and doesn't really add to these songs.|
Picks: Beesting, Marconi Meltdown, The Crawling Eye, Because You're Young, Witchfinder General, Return Of The Kraken, Windmill Weekend, Downfall, Quit Your Job, Vaudeville, Bounty Hunter, Killer Hill Revisited, Viva El Chupacabra!
Track by Track Review
Screaming and harsh tone drive this rock instro. While it's not melodic, it's aggressive and commanding. The riff rock structure is augmented with occasional glissandos and hard rock edge.
This unusual track sports delicate muted guitar lines and a sunny English sounding melody line. "Marconi Meltdown" is a wonderful track that creates an uplifting feeling and beach-front image. Its surf credibility is fine, much like those mid-eighties surf instros that appeared on on so many albums, and is perhaps also stylistically like some of the Thurston Lava Tube's material.
"The Crawling Eye" eases towards you across a sunset beach where the fading light enables your imagination to overcome your good sense. The easy pace and delicate nature of the track are very pleasing.
"Because You're Young" is a mid tempo number with a dominant rhythm and light melody. Its sound reflects a foreign vision of the California surf experience. Hand claps and excellent balance give it a splendid attractiveness. While the title suggests "Because They're Young," it's not at all related.
"Witchfinder General" is a lumbering piece with swirling keys and fuzz, and an imagery that is kind of sludged Munsters. It doesn't exactly evolve, but it sure does have a garage feel.
Eerie and weird, with narrative samples. Delicate muted reverb splashes out a fine surf rhythm. This is a slow and dark number with danger throughout. Its whammy chords are well placed, and the dripping reverb is very cool. Quite nice!
Light chords a la troubadour folk deliver a happy rhythm and generally fun sound. This very original acoustic track is oddly captivating.
Great surfisms abound in this very happy track. It shimmers and bounces with excellent delicate energy. The dissonant chords and infectious rhythm drive this one home. The organ seems out of place, perhaps better replaced with a piano.
"Quit Your Job" is an awful lot like a downtrodden "Shake-N-Stomp." A very similar structure and melody line. Aside from that, it's a splendid track with ample energy and splash.
A slow hokum-pok'em beat like a minor Klezmer work, with excellent muted reverbed rhythm patterns, and a sad but infectious sound. It's hard to imagine that a lumbering surf instro that's almost morose would bring a grin, but that's exactly what "Vaudeville" does. Wonderful!
"Bounty Hunter" is a rough and ready instro with dark distortion and cowboy feel. Its cactus underbelly and Swedish rock instro styling combine for a splendid result. I am reminded a bit of the Shoutless track "Downhill Run," but it's much softer than that.
A basic riff rocker with a Duane Eddy-ish rhythm riff. Great muted chop chords and a quirky kind of coolness. In the break, it drops into a fabulous slow reverbed dream, but only for a few lines. I'd like to hear the whole song done this way for a 5-star rating! A borrowed verse from "Wipe Out" precedes another slow sinewy reverb passage. Lots' of changes here. It ends with "Hall Of The Mountain King."
Slow and moody, "Viva El Chupacabra!" moves fluidly through the night. Very emotional and dark, with lush chords and desert reverb charm. Perhaps slightly inspired by Link Wray's "El Toro," this track has exceptional scenic quality. Superb!