Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This is a very strong CD. Many classic surf influences overlaid on classical structures as well. This is a Les Fradkin (Godz) solo project, with major assistance from Linda Boll, as well as Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye. Really good studio projects stand right along side of working band releases. While rare, this is one of those sessions. While stylistically different than Jay Graydon's Rake & the Surftones release, it has the same precision, and sports ample energy. The production values are really nice.|
Picks: Bombora, Surfin' The Classics Pt. 2, Apache, Surfin' The Classics Pt. 1, Body Surfin', Telstar, White Sands, Walk Don't Run 2000, The Cruel Sea, Sandblaster, Walk The Nose, Reverbia
Track by Track Review
This is a darn hot version of the Original Surfaris' "Bombora." Extra crunchy and pumped up, this is a tuff performance. The edgie guitar buries the melody some, but there's no mistaking the power. In some ways, it is like the Conditionz' version, at least as far as the edge and tone moderne is concerned, but this is much thicker. The embellishments add major drama, and bring significant updating to the original concept.
Surfin' The Classics Pt. 2
Taking Les Baronics' classical surf to the territory first pioneered by Love Sculpture, this merger of surf and late sixties UK fire prog uses "Sabre Dance" as a launching pad for a liquid assault on the masters, decomposing their sounds while reinventing their passion. It has all of the charm and humor of the Move's frequent use of classics, and the fluidity of surf. Excellent!
In some ways, just what you'd expect it to be. In others, refreshing and lush. The arrangement is simple and very effective, and the percussion and spooky ambiance are quite enticing. Jorgen Ingman more than the Shadows, and almost Roxy Music in the art-drama department. Splendid.
Surfin' The Classics Pt. 1
Part 1 has a more spitfire ambiance than part 2, and the classics are more familiar and less adventurous. Quite enjoyable.
The opening is borrowed from "Rap City," but there ends any resemblance. A mid tempo pace and a warm tone, plus a moderately infectious melody. It's more a riff and an ambiance, but that's not to say it isn't quite good. I've played it on my show. The classic surf beat is perfecto, almost machine gun like, and as close to Sam Adotto's (Neon Spores) as I've heard. The inspiration here is Duane Eddy and perhaps the Yardbirds' "Little Games."
Space Rock (Instrumental)
A countdown, a blast of rocket exhaust, cheesy keys, and then an undistinguished rendition of Joe Meek's oft covered space epic. Some of the intro effects are strait off of the Tornados' hit, but it doesn't have the guts of the original, nor the fire of the Lively Ones or Humans. Having said that, it's an enjoyable experience, with occasional glissandoes and tasty guitar tone.
Middle Eastern Rock (Instrumental)
The spatial shimmer of the intro does not foretell the approaching middle eastern melody line delivered with sustain and big guitar tone. The near balalaika plucking and thick arrangement are very unusual, if not surfy. In some ways I wanted to dismiss this, but found myself sucked into an addiction to the track. There's something of the Kaleidoscope about this track, like "Seven Ate Sweet" for the surf.
Based on the Ventures' '64 arrangement, but with dryer tone, this is good, more than just competent, yet unnecessary. Nothing seems to have been created here beyond reverence. In some ways, it reminds me of the Summer Breeze version. It has a really clean crisp sound.
Mike Maxfield's over covered tune gets a facelift in the tone and chunk department. The delicate pluckage under the lead brings a tension between sophistication and rock 'n' roll simplicity. The excellent guitar work really makes this work well. Among the better versions out there. Nice track.
Another "Diamond Head" clone intro, and then a solid riff, and a warm feel. Excellent picking, but a bit thick and pompous. There's an orchestral feel to the arrangement. Rhythmic and well paced. At first, I passed this track by, but after a second listen, it started to sink in, like a sleeper that you wake up to one day when it's too late to get out. The Ventures influence is unmistakable.
Using the EchoPlex like in the opening of the Nobles' "Earthquake," this is a solid surf riff number with well placed whammy and friendly chords. The second guitar damped picking is well placed and spunky, and supports the lead really well.
Very airy, melodic and chunky, and riff driven with speed and power. Huge drama and swimming whammy, edgie guitar, and marvelous energy. The double picking is dry and clicky, with sustained leads and dramatic changes. There's something of the feel of Richard Rogers-Robert Russell Bennet' "Song Of The High Sea" in the openning. Quite refreshing.