Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Impacts - Eternal Surfdotdotdot
artworkThe first new material from the Central Coast's lap steel surfers from 35 years back. Unlike earlier live sessions that were more an oldies review than anything else, this is quite a good CD. Martin Brown's lap steel work is grand, for sure. There's actually not much surf on it, but as a rock instro album, it is quite good. If not for the surf focus of this page, it would get 4 stars.
Picks: Monster Swell, Pismo Nights, Maverick's Reef, Sand Draggin', Spys That Surf, Bermuda, Haiku 73, Pirates Cove, Polynesian Mood, Hazards, Spanish Seas, Wave Snake, Loree's Song, Where Does The Rain Come From, Eternal Surf

Track by Track Review


Monster Swell dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Surf (Instrumental)

A stilted glissando opens a basic riff song, with a nice break right out of Rare Bird's Spaghetti Western period that breaks up the repetition. It sports moderate energy, growly low-E guitar, and a rolling rhythm. Big surf whammy chords drive this track. It's cool, somewhat tribal, and sports some nice changes.

Pismo Nights dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

One of the coolest little towns on the West Coast, Pismo Beach was the playground for the Central Coast surf bands. This tribute track is an ominous R&B growler, with evil sax, a dark progression, and cool soulin' sounds. The Rumblers' "Boss" inspired the backtrack.

Maverick's Reef dotdotdotdot
Stadium Surf (Instrumental)

That most rare surf element in Impacts music, the double picked lead guitar, is moderately employed, along with stellar lap steel and a fine structure. It's not trad exactly, but it sports the feel of both decades. It flows nicely, and is endearing. Sort of stadium surf. The horns are quite cool.

Sand Draggin' dotdotdot
Austin Fifties Roots (Instrumental)

Fairly surfy low-E lead guitar, lap steel coolness, sax growlery, and a solid beat combine to produce a pretty cool tune with a "Tequila"-like break, but not horn dominated. Pismo is among the only places where you can drive on the beach. A bit more progression oriented and less melodic than I would like, but it seems to work well, like a cowboy number a la many of the Austin bands. Some fifties touches too. Nice lap steel work and somehow hooky. I usually don't like this sort of thing, but it's OK. Not surf at all.

Spys That Surf dotdotdotdot
C For Cats Lap Steel Spy (Instrumental)

With a definite spy structure, and gorgeous harmonic chords, this is a very foxy track. The pace is moderate, the ambiance is plodding and mysterious, and the lap steel in the middle is absolutely sinewy. The walking melody line is super simple, but effective. A great cool-for-cats bass line.

Bermuda dotdotdotdot
Martin Denny Exotic Island (Instrumental)

With a great flowing gentle backtrack, this lap steel number oozes island imagery, and ushers in a feeling of warm breezes and post luau digestive naps. The flute in the break is pleasing. Overall, it's a very nice track, even though in some ways it's pretty MOR. The "Quiet Village" bird calls give it an exotic feel. Not surf, but it's my favorite track on this CD.

Haiku 73 dotdotdotdot
Italian Slow Dance (Instrumental)

Harmonic Mermen chords introduce this gently double picked tune. It's fluid, relaxed, picturesque, and hinting more of a Mexican or Italian fishing village than a Polynesian spot. Quite pretty. There's a slow mystic mandolin-like guitar and a sensual melody line.

Pirates Cove dotdotdot
Ventures meet Kenny G (Instrumental)

A "Walk, Don't Run" introduction, a smooth surf melody, and a pleasing structure provide a solid and silky listening experience. It flows with quite a bit of almost Kenny G.-like sax work. A very pretty melody, but mostly just that - pretty. After listening, it didn't stick.

Polynesian Mood dotdotdot
Hawaiian Lap Steel (Instrumental)

Like you might expect, a haole's vision of romance in the islands. Slow, silky, moody, and accompanied by male chorus. Too hokey for me. Pretty but hard to stay with, except as a back drop to something else. The vocal chorus detracts.

Hazards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty surfy, sorta grode Central Coast surf number that moves at a deliberate and moderate tempo, with a sax that growls ominously, and a lap steel that cries sweetly. This is more surfy than the version on Surfin' 101. Low energy, but quite pretty and endearing. Really nice mood piece, and not as ambient as "Pirate's Cove."

Spanish Seas dotdotdotdot
Lap Steel Surf (Instrumental)

This is much more surfy and basic than the version on Surfin' 101. The Spanish feel of the melody is clearer, and the arrangement is much surfier. It rolls along, sucks you in, and makes you long for the open sea. It's a moderately paced number that drips Central Coast soul with damped reverb and cool sounds. The sax is more subdued here. This is a fine track. The lap steel really draws on the emotional strings.

Wave Snake dotdotdot
Wipe Out Rock (Instrumental)

I think this is the same version as on Surfin' 101. "Church Key" whammy dips accent this track, which is fundamentally a progression, broken up with "Wipe Out" drums, and backed by Central Coast sax and guitar harmonies. There's quite a bit of R&B in this track.

Loree's Song dotdot
Santo & Johnny (Instrumental)

High school slow dance mushy steel guitar stuff. Not much personality, and owing a great deal to Santo and Johnny, but pretty in a background kinda way.

Where Does The Rain Come From dotdot
Pentangle (Instrumental)

Bongos, semi exotic chords, and an almost Greek feel characterize this track. This gentle track flows smoothly, but does not inspire. It's very pretty, just no very memorable. The flutes add even more MOR flavor, though they hint of South America. If Pentangle played instros, it would be like this.

Eternal Surf dotdotdot
Lap Steel (Instrumental)

Flavorful lead guitar, moderate pace, smooth sound, and tasty lap steel from Martin Brown again. A very nice track. Mid tempo number that's quite nice. The lap steel work is the most enjoyable.