Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Fantasticos - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkLos Fantasticos play music that's not for the trad purist, but it has a real surf foundation in its guitar tone and dribbling glissandos. Think about what GT Stringer did wit the merger of surf and jazz. This isn't like that except in the combination of elements. Where GTS played with sax and psych, Los Fantasticos use surf to interpret jazz ideas and sophistication, but never leave the rock'n'roll foundation of surf too far behind. There's lots here for the open minded.
Picks: The Associate, Moroccan Roll, Johnny Got Made, Bringing Georgia To Mind, El Pichon, Maracana, A Short Song About Killing, Contessa Del Fuego, Tilting At Windmills, The Whites Of Their Eyes, The Smell Of Neoprene In The Morning, Paint It Black

Track by Track Review

The Associate dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Busy drums and shiny surf tone develop a very non-surf structure with glissandos and moody bass. It's interesting how surfable the song is, given that's it's entirely outside the norm. Engaging.

Moroccan Roll dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

reverbed chop chords and a mysterious desert air held together by flowing glissandos and a nifty melody. There's a lot here - changes - tone - imagery - and adventurous ideas. "Moroccan Roll" is a splendid track that's daring and aquatic.

Johnny Got Made dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a Zappa-esq intro and mathematical melody line, this track's precision and circular riffology give it a friendly feeling when coupled with the reverb. Quite cool!

Bringing Georgia To Mind dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums open and carry "Bringing Georgia To Mind" throughout its tenure, while a moody melody portrays a gloomy day on the beak. This fine track is a splendid example of just how surf a very adventurous idea can be. Great reverb tone and gray-green walls combine for a stormy and risky ride.

El Pichon dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The slow picturesque flow of "El Pichon" has a softly sunset feeling. The fretless bass gives this a sophisticated edge, while the reverb and lush chords portray a traditional palm lined shore image. Very nice.

Maracana dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Superb drums and lovely guitar lines seem to bring moody jazz to the brine. It's a bit angular and mathematical, yet it flows with a lovely image and liquid reverb sound. Very cool!

A Short Song About Killing dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A country beat runs beneath a slightly sad melody in a structure that reminds me of Monster Pete and the Chiefs. On the dark side, or perhaps just shy of optimistic, "A Short Song About Killing" sounds nothing like the title might suggest, and it grows on you.

Contessa Del Fuego dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Contessa Del Fuego" moves slowly across your senses in an effortless blend of gentility and after dark invisibility. gentle and pretty, and quite sensual, like a wisp of a flowing gown just above the perception threshold. As the fuzz comes forth, the danger becomes clear, but for most of the song, it's not more than a suspicion. Very well done.

Tilting At Windmills dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Soft and lightly flowing, the two guitars play gently off one another in the intro, but as the tribal drums come on with great emotional drama, the melody morphs into a tidal swell of raw feeling. "Tilting At Windmills" really connects if you let it, like one of those edge of tears scenes in a film. Very visual and human.

The Whites Of Their Eyes dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Large and edgy, with a heavier sound than most here, "The Whites Of Their Eyes" is a fastish number with a sense of forward motion and rising drama. Quite nice.

The Smell Of Neoprene In The Morning dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

In a play on Apocalypse Now i name only, this song sports gentle drama and imagery. The drums are very good, and the melody and rhythm very expressive, delivering a gradually soaring and sailing swell of emotion, amped by the bass. The borrowed lick from "Eight Miles High" is a stroke of genius. The fuzz section is quite powerful. The interplay between the guitars is superb.

Paint It Black dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Los Fantasticos do quite a sophisticated surf arrangement with this song. It's attractive, powerful, and engaging. Plenty of changes throughout, from surf to fuzz to wah-wah. Wonderful!

It's really quite something to realize how many surfbands have done versions of Mick Jagger and Keith Richard's "Paint It Black." It was from an era when rock'n'roll songs had melody, and that didn't take away from their stark edge and emotion.