Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Eliminators - Ultra Sonicdotdotdotdot
artworkUltra Sonic marks a significant departure for the Eliminators. It also retains their signature sound. Adding sophistication, country, and excellent arranging to their crunchy sound, and reducing the reverb on the rhythm guitar, all add up to excellent listening. It's good to hear new material from this rarest of bands, real longboarders playing real surf music. All 14 surf instros are winners. The CD closes with an untitled 16th track, a chanted tribal ceremony of some sort.
Picks: Aloha Hell, Parafin Jungle, E-Five, Long Live The King, Mississippi Leg Hound, Point Conception, Da Coffin, Mysto Reef, El Borracho, Cross Steppin', Monte Carlo Blues, Surf Sacrifice, Shifter, Dr. Jelly Finger, The Breeze and I

Track by Track Review

Aloha Hell dotdotdot
Tribal Hula (Instrumental)

"Aloha Hell" opens with the surf fading in, the moves into excellent island percussion over bird calls and chants.

Parafin Jungle dotdotdot
Country Twang (Instrumental)

This is an excursion into sonic territory that the Eliminators have not previously ventured, the land of Memphis flavored instros, where gig flowing notes and effected country twang rule. It's melodic and prancing, with an excellent sax break from Billy Swanson.

E-Five dotdotdotdot
Vibrato Surf (Instrumental)

Big twang reverb, ringing chords, and a shimmering sounds await as Joe Kurkowski's guitar floats on a sea of shallow vibrato. The break is a mean double picked low-E grind followed by a great and gentle vibrato riff. "E-Five" is big and very satisfying.

Long Live The King dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ever so slightly reminiscent of the "What'd I Say" riff, "Long Live The King" is a melodic romp and stomp, with a taste of Dick Dale, a smattering of the Catalinas, and that classic Eliminators surf chunk. It's a good vehicle for Joe Kurkowski's guitar wizardry, a showpiece.

Mississippi Leg Hound dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

With one leg in the barn and one in the white water, "Mississippi Leg Hound" twangs and two-steps through a simple riff and a wailin' sax break for a perfect bar-b-que on the back forty.

Point Conception dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surf Raiders' "Point Conception" is reworked considerable, retaining the song of course, but fulfilling the promise made in the two early original versions. More ringing tone and much better recording, plus a more delicate and precise performance deliver this fine song into a new life.

Da Coffin dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mid tempo la muerte surf, opening with a creaking coffin lid, and moving right into a roundly warm toned guitar riff, that is both a classic simple surf progression and very effective. The brooding distant sax break is very spooky.

Mysto Reef dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fine dry damped chop rhythm, double picked lead guitar, and a rolling beat perfectly combine into a whammy wash of mean tone and rolling south swells on a dark day. The bongos add some mystery, and the suave sax provides a sultry aside. This is a very nice track.

El Borracho dotdotdotdot
Mexican Surf (Instrumental)

Acoustic Spanish guitar, a Mexican melody, shimmering shallow vibrato, and warm reverb... what a gorgeous tone. "El Borracho" sports fiesta "ay ya ya" shouts and a real sense of celebration.

Cross Steppin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damped rhythms and moody bass under flowing lead chords give way to a great riff, and then the backtrack transitions into a cool solid beat with ska rhythm guitar. This is an infectious and haunting track, with power and excellent arranging.

Monte Carlo Blues dotdotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Slow blues shimmer, with an excellent shallow vibrato reverbed lead guitar. This is very moody and subtle. It straddles the line between the blues sea bed and the surf above on a two foot day in the bay. Very sultry and quite pretty.

Surf Sacrifice dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surf Sacrifice" is both mean and smooth. It uses damped chop, double picked glissandoes, a solid rhythm, and full round tone. A moving fluid piece with organ under the break before the sax comes in. Edgie and seamless.

Shifter dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gun that engine, boys, then whammy dip like the intro to "Church Key," and move into a Central Coast riff. A jammin' track.

Dr. Jelly Finger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An effect electronic whirring keyboard excursion over solid damped rhythm guitar and a sorta B-52's progression, and quirky surf lead guitar. Quite an unusual track. The page of "Dr. Jelly Finger" followed by the evil laugh identifies "Dr. Jelly Finger" as a proctologist who enjoys his work and your discomfort. Pretty darn cool.

The Breeze and I dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ernesto Lacuoña's classic melody is beautifully played out. This is just about as good as it gets, just shy of the exquisite Vibrants' version. The shimmering tone and delicate playing are perfect for the melody. The flute verse gives in an exotic air.