Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
El Ray - Chasing Raydotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the fourth release from El Ray, who just keep getting better and more interesting. Many fine tracks here, with a variety of influences merged with surf. Original and compelling listening.
Picks: Stuck In An Elevator, Twangs Am, Impala Joy Ride, Burlesque - A Velvet Sound, Cherry Cheeks, Sssh! Lay Low, Pulling G's, Flying Saucer Theme, Bob Hund, Cheese on a Cup, ...And So They Surfed Away

Track by Track Review


Stuck In An Elevator dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Horror based, with eerie screaming and a monstrous riff, "Stuck In An Elevator" is a dangerous spooky number with glorious evil tone. Strong and ominous, with excellent drums and bass.

Twangs Am dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a crunchy track, with had claps and crisp chords, and thumping bass and drums. The melody is fluid and a bit spooky. The unusual structure and angular feel are compelling.

Impala Joy Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big and splashy with an open space rolling stock feeling. Some splendid double picked lines, and a sense of traveling. Plinky piano gives it a vintage rock'n'roll essence. Very cool!

Burlesque - A Velvet Sound dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Loungy exotica provides the launch pad for this lovely piece. Gorgeous island whammy and dribbling double picking, along with very rich tone playing an engaging melody. "Burlesque - A Velvet Sound" is a fine composition that's very well developed and delivered.

Cherry Cheeks dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzz guitar, bass, and drums provide a garage backdrop for the surf guitar melody. "Cherry Cheeks" is a fine track with a tasteful melody riff and a solid, if easy sound. The chords midstream remind me of Amon Duul II's "Surrounded By The Stars." Original and compelling.

Sssh! Lay Low dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering tremolo and surf guitars play in opposite channels, one playing a trembling melody, and the other playing an original counter melody and rhythm pattern. "Sssh! Lay Low" is very original, and very easy to enjoy. It's a bit mysterious, and very smooth. Haunting and unsettling, yet soothing.

Pulling G's dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pulling G's" is more garagy than most here, with a more aggressive surf structure, glissandos, and a much more surfish melody. Excellent writing and adventurous sound. This really stands out in this set, both because it's so much more in the mainstream of surf, but also because the aural quality is so different - grittier and more garagy. Excellent!

Flying Saucer Theme dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grins are required as the slow chop chords, bass, and drums grumble under the slightly disturbed melody. Like an asylum in the rain, yet all within think you're the one that's not quite right. The Theremin's wail just adds to the dementia of the structure, as does the melodica. Too cool!

Bob Hund dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Peter Gunn-ish whammy dip opener quickly yields to a relentless slow motion stomp backtrack with a modestly unsettled melody. Imagine Duane Eddy at the beach where the unloved insane have gathered for a bonfire and a beer. You can just imagine black and white images of the monster from the surf. Dissonant and disturbed.

Pink Slip dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Organ carries the lead for part of the song, while tom toms and shouts of hey break it up. "Pink Slip" is quite fun!

Cheese on a Cup dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Long shallow whammy chords and hand clapping rhythms, along with heavy double picking and glissandos drive you to the shore. "Cheese on a Cup" is a cool surf instro with some tortured moments and a clear vision of storm surf.

...And So They Surfed Away dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slowly they surf, step by step, through the funeral march of the dawn. "...And So They Surfed Away" is a splendid track, with a sad feeling and long haunting lines. It's very nicely arranged. It features some lovely lines and some double picked lines too.