Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Eliminators - Room to Movedotdotdotdotdot
artworkFor many years, The Eliminators have been one of my favorite surfbands. Their sound and fury have been firmly rooted in traditional surf, and their lineup has been peopled by superb musicians and writers. This new album, the first in quite awhile, expands their sound to include rockabilly and European styles while retaining their identity. I really like this release a lot, and recommend it highly. One criticism is that the bass is much too subdued on many tracks, as are the drums in some cases.
Picks: Hang On, Walking Tall, Snake Eyes, Balsa Chica, Rockin' Billy, Pool Party, Sonic Blue, Sunset Glide, Steel Trap, Slick, Revenge Of The Cowabunga Thunder Melvins, Marty's Theme, One Gun is All You Need, Starlight Cruise

Track by Track Review

Hang On dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gentle whammy chords bring on a cycling melody line that's very cool. It rides atop fine muted rhythms and great drums. "Hang On" has the perfect arranging of The Eliminators and Joe Kurkowski's fine melody feel of Jon and the Nightriders circa Stampede. This is a superb track with a catchy rhythm and extremely enjoyable melody line.

Walking Tall dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the echoed, easy whammy flow of The Shadows, "Walking Tall" moves through very endearing territory. The melody is very well written, and the almost galloping arrangement well suited to it. Its tone and sound are hard not to like.

Snake Eyes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The wind chills the graveyard before the lush spaghetti western charm brings with it splendid drums and lush guitar. Whammy, wide spatial ambiance, and a moody vision. While everyone plays superbly, and the melody is excellent, I think it's really the drums that make this shine.

Balsa Chica dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums and rhythm guitar provide a splendid foundation for the fine lead guitar on John Blair's "Balsa Chica." Moody and rhythmic, with excellent whammy and liquid tone.

Rockin' Billy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Billy Swanson's rockabilly based bounder features infectious rhythms and Billy's charging sax. Raucous vintage energy and thinner rockabilly sound make the connection between the roots and band.

Pool Party dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pool Party" begins with a bass glissando and rides atop a kind of "Tequila" rhythm track. It has a very fun arrangement and features lots of cool sax work and exotic bongos. Entirely fun!

Sonic Blue dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow silky blue intensity opens "Sonic Blue" before it becomes a big pounder. Long sustain and distortion through reverb, excellent drums, and really solid bass. This has a thoroughly modern sound, and is much more intense than the rest of the album. If surfbands played The Fillmore back in the day, they might have sounded like this.

Sunset Glide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythmically based, "Sunset Glide" has a charming European echo drenched lead guitar sound. Shimmering tremolo, excellent drums, and an open prairie spatial flow.

Steel Trap dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Link Wray and his Raymen's "Steel Trap" is done with flair and very stylish sax work. The more or less rockabilly arrangement is well suited to the melody. Great tribal drums! Quite fun.

Slick dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Slick" is a sax number with a Stax-Volt soul foundation. It's quite fun, but unlike most material from that Memphis studio, it's more melodic, and the guitar break is less jammy too. It's a nice updating of a period sound.

Revenge Of The Cowabunga Thunder Melvins dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Revenge Of The Cowabunga Thunder Melvins" is perhaps the most Eliminators-like of all the tracks here - that is to say that it sounds like the band did in their infancy. Panning glissandos, superb drums, pumping bass, and remarkably solid vintage sound. Excellent muted rhythm patterns, and a fully fleshed-out arrangement. For my money, this is the highlight of the disc.

Marty's Theme dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big time fun -part surf - part rockabilly rhythms. Superb splashy guitar, fire in their bones, and a really strong arrangement. Great sax, big splash chords, superb drums, and pulsing bass. Very cool!

One Gun is All You Need dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spaghetti western imagery, superb drums, moody guitars, perfectly written bass lines, and lush sound. "One Gun is All You Need" is a brilliantly written and arranged song that's catchy and holds attention. The sax lines add to the charm. This is all cool fun!

Starlight Cruise dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow island whammy chords, a flowing sunset melody, and an easy charm. There's no mistaking its Pacific island feel, enhanced by the slide guitar. "Starlight Cruise" is a lovely album closer!