Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
El Ray - Shoot From The Hipdotdotdotdot
artworkThe first official release from Denmark's El Ray is a tuff and artful collection of material with unique character and attractiveness. There are some really nice tracks here.
Picks: Spacecar, The Plan, Secret Agent Man, Primex, Circus Monkey, The Agent vs. The Mexican, Tornado, The Spider, Stalkin' The Stalker, Casbah, Sniper Driver, The Cashier, Poseidon

Track by Track Review


Spacecar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Spacecar" is a heavy surf thrasher with a dark mean edge. Mostly rhythm dominated and forceful, it fires a barrage of guitar bullets with impunity. More rock than surf, but very strong and double picked at times with a vengeance.

The Plan dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tweaky, twisted, demented... and that's the opening. "A Shot In The Dark" at an evil asylum where the inmates are in charge. Quirky and playful, and very cool.

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Vocal)

Phil Sloane's hit for Johnny Rivers is strangely done. A combo of rock delivery, inverted lounge vocal chorus, and faux dramatic narration give "Secret Agent Man" an unnerving sound. I want to hate it, but there's something in the quirkiness of it that draws you in.

Primex dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Spies on the Riviera, or maybe riding in Rivieras on the way to the beach. Either way, "Primex" has an odd melody line that's attractive and spy-cool.

Circus Monkey dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and thrashy, "Circus Monkey" screams glissandos and surfisms in a heavy syrup of tubular destruction. An excellent powerhouse of green water assault.

The Agent vs. The Mexican dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow and sultry number with a silky sexiness and exotic percussion. "The Agent vs. The Mexican" is like a film score, more about setting up the visuals and story line than a melody, yet powerfully attractive. Spanish elements and spy sounds intertwine in an adventure of unique style.

Tornado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Splashy chords infectiously pound out a beach image over great drums. A fine double picked lead strides amidst the sounds, not quite commanding, yet luring you into its clutches. This is a really fine piece, with a catchy feel and very different tone.

The Spider dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

"The Spider" starts off slow and easy, but quickly launches into a thick swirl of chords and double picked frenzy. Very adventurous and refreshing.

Stalkin' The Stalker dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Gettin' even in the most basic way, "Stalkin' The Stalker" is an odd mix of surf and Los Straitjackets drumming. Somewhat dark, somewhat suave, this track is quite interesting.

Casbah dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Richie Podolor's "Casbah" is given a different face that is both restrained and powerful. In some ways, it's like the Mermen version, and in others, it's gentle. Very rich and cool.

Sniper Driver dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and funky bass line leads into a surf playground with rich tone and playful almost Austin structures. The ska backbeat that eventually emerges is really nice. Nicely arranged, playfully thought out, and very well done. Excellent!

The Cashier dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

This low key number sports a rich melody line and very pleasing arrangement. "The Cashier" is dramatic in a downplayed and sad way. Very cool indeed!

Poseidon dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

The introduction immediately brought the Surfin' Tapeworms From Venus' version of "Chariots of Foam" to mind, but there ended the similarity. From there, El Ray launch into a power thrust of dark double picked mayhem. The melody line is similar to Neil Norman's fiery "The Perfect Wave."