Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Hawaii Samurai - Let There Be Surfdotdotdot
artworkHawaii Samurai are French band with an odd blend of CHUM-ish grit and a strange drama. Mixed reviews here. Some really interesting and powerful tracks amid less interesting and repetitious material. The good stuff is well worth hearing. They are probably quite an endurance test live.
Picks: Voodoo Princess Terror, Our favorite Martian, Surf 'n' Destroy, Astrocrypt Hellsurfer, Pacific Darkside, Surf Or Die, Ocean's Devil, Venus Polis, Toxic Avenger, Ride The Snake, Run Chicken Run, Mariachi's Fever

Track by Track Review

Voodoo Princess Terror dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums and big chords launch "Voodoo Princess Terror" with a thundering grind. Not very melodic, but more than just a riff. Great glissandoes and dangerous chords, like some sort of Link Wray edged ode to the churn of storm surf. Thick and intense!

Our favorite Martian dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sample opens "Our Favorite Martian" arranged differently than others have done it. Some dry rhythmic chops, some swirls and weirdness, and suddenly, it's like a new song. This lies somewhere between Davie Allan's monster version, a space cadet adventure, and Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics's original.

Surf 'n' Destroy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tuff aggressive double picking drives out the demons of some pretty nasty surf. Power surge glissandoes and dark angry seas abound. "Surf 'n' Destroy" is like Dick Dale with a headache in Holland.

Astrocrypt Hellsurfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mean bass grumbles under an angular guitar line while the drums mock the silence. "Astrocrypt Hellsurfer" is non-melodic, but sports some thunder and tom tom drama, along with some CHUM-esq big chords.

Pacific Darkside dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A thrashy guitar attack flails before a power glissando and tom tom thunder takes over. Hard driving and aggressive, with more nerve than discretion. Fast double picking and edgy tone, with some nasty sax and interesting rhythm guitar.

Surf Or Die dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

No, it's not the Surf MC's song. "Surf Or Die" is a riff dominated tune with more power and edge than melody, though it works pretty well. Too repetitious for my taste.

Ocean's Devil dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Split-note-damped guitar launches this heavy syrup of surf thrash and angular disturbance. Not melodic, but angry like a hurricane swell you shouldn't be out in.

Venus Polis dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Venus Polis" reminds me a little of the instrumental side of King Loser, with similar angularity, relentlessness, and sound. Thick and angry, with Shockabilly's demented guitar swirls for good measure. Quite interesting!

Toxic Avenger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick and angry, "Toxic Avenger" is much more about attitude than style. Heavy and dark, with a pummeling approach.

Ride The Snake dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More like a rock instro structurally, yet surfable and adventurous. "Ride The Snake" is strong, with varying guitar tone, vibrato edge, and electronic wind bathed in drama. This grows on you.

Run Chicken Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yup, it's that song. Played like a garaged out aggressive version of Los Straitjackets, Hawaii Samurai do a credible translation of this venerable instro classic.

Mariachi's Fever dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato, a very cool beat and bass line, and outstanding guitar lines drive "Mariachi's Fever" to the bank. I'm not sure what the mariachi reference is exactly, though the melody hints of Mexico, and the distant chorus adds a sense of vacation mishap. This is a pretty cool track!