Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Halibuts - Gnarlydotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the magnificent second album from Manhattan Beach's Halibuts. It marks a slight turn towards more surf and less ska, but still captures the imagination and hearts of the fans. The writing continues to get better, and the performances are mighty strong.
Picks: Shorepound, Skinny Dip, Centipede, The Man From H. A. L. I. B. U. T., Mambo Halibut, Batman, Got A Match, The Rumble, Gnarly, 40 Miles Of Bad Surf

Track by Track Review


Shorepound dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally killer dribbling surf rhythm guitar, and a ska based sax lead, except for the break, where a marvelous surf guitar carries the focus. Infectious, driving, and utterly rhythmic. Prefect for that drive down PCH.

Skinny Dip dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

High spirited surf instro, so spunky that Agent Orange issued a cover on a single a few years back. The melody is pure vintage surf, while the speed is faster and the sound is lighter. Great infectious stomp master track. Recorded on 8/28/86

Centipede dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about their most surfy, best track. It is powerful, full of tones in very corner, melodic, infectious, and just plain wonderful. The melody is lonesome mean, the rolling drums are spectacular, and the growling keyboard under it all holds it together. Even JoeyŐs out of tune sax is perfect for the track. Totally necessary eighties surf. Recorded 8/19/86

The Man From H. A. L. I. B. U. T. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hokey, movie spoof twin lead playfulness. The two guitars share the duty, trading lines in a playful way. The pace is moderate and deliberate. The almost start stop action between verses is pretty fun. The fast ska break is utterly unexpected and joyous. When it slows back down to a final verse, all is well with the world. So many changes, so little time. Recorded 9/15/86

Mambo Halibut dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tweaky fun from the tropical regions, where ska and salsa and swaying dancers rule. Really a nice track, featuring a soulful and low down sax lead. Way before it was cool to employ exotica sensibilities, these guys were daring their audiences to new heights. Recorded 4/12/86

Batman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Neil Hefty TV theme, arranged in a pretty standard surf band way. Not very interesting, but having seen them a bunch of times, I can tell you their audience loves this. The powerful glissandoes to a stop between verses works really well. Recorded 6/12/86.

Got A Match dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Playful, tropical beat, hokey polka sensibilities, and a child like melody combine to create a very fun and infectious track, completely outside the pale of your usual surf tune. Recorded 9/15/86.

The Rumble dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

ItŐs Link WrayŐs monster, surfed out, feedback included, and gnarly. Recorded on 9/15/86.

Gnarly dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gnarly is right. This is among the best mean surf tracks ever. ItŐs amazing how much power can be had from a damped surf guitar, and then how much emphasis can come from a whack at the whammy bar. Really strong throbbing tribal bass and drums, and an almost overpowering drive. Incredible track. Recorded on 8/28/86.

40 Miles Of Bad Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An entirely nonstandard arrangement of the Duane Eddy standard, faster and with sax domination. Recorded on 8/28/86