Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Impacts - Sex Wax and Surfdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the first release in a couple of years for surf legends the Impacts. Leader Merrell Fankhauser has a long and colorful history between his original Impacts and the current version, including stints as the Exiles, H.M.S. Bounty, and Mu. This CD marks a return to real surf values and excellent writing. Merrell is teamed up with brother Tim Fankhauser, and on "Surf Train," veteran Impact lap steel player Martin Brown.
Picks: Tarantulas, Barrel Ride, Duck Dive, Kamikaze, Surfin' Cowboys, Hana Moon, Peahi Jaws, Death On The Rocks, Mysto Spot, Voice Of The Sea, Surf Train, Sex Wax and Surf

Track by Track Review

Tarantulas dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rich surf guitars and a rhythmic backtrack provide a fertile ground for this fine instro. Fine harmonics, a suave sax break, and a sparkling summer surf feel. maybe the best thing Merrell Fankhauser has done in decades. Modern, and yet quite respectful of the golden era, "Tarantulas" is an open road mover with a sound and structure reminiscent of the modern Chantays. Excellent!

Barrel Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Barrel Ride" provides a rhythmic glimpse into a long slide across a tubular wall. Glistening guitar and infectious rhythms, and very good writing.

Duck Dive dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bit on the gimmicky side, yet solid and fluid. The break is so different, I wonder if it shouldn't be a song in its own right. The nasty sax makes the guitar riff work well.

Kamikaze dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A traditional surf backtrack, sultry harmonics, rich low-E leads, and moody keyboards portray a haunted cove at low tide. "Kamikaze Cocktail" is nicely structured and hooks you fairly quickly.

Surfin' Cowboys dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bit of the cowboy ethics of the Fireballs, a bit of the Central Coast riff rockin', a touch of Duane Eddy, and reverb... A little quirky, yet very friendly. Derivations aside, this is a very pleasing track.

Hana Moon dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and silky, "Hana Moon" floats above gentle shore break on a moonlit night. It sports a very pretty melody with soft optimism and a breezy flow. very nice track.

Peahi Jaws dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The sound on this track is a little ambient, but the infectious rhythm is very cool. There are touches of the Mermen in the rhythm track, and modern guitar tone in the lead. It's a little repetitious, yet very satisfying.

Death On The Rocks dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an interesting track, with a nervous melody line and big whammy twango. A little repetitious, but projecting a distant danger.

Mysto Spot dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mid tempo travelin' music, for that drive to your secret spot. Warm and fluid, nicely played and pretty, "Mysto Spot" is an interesting track. I particularly like the main riff.

Voice Of The Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soft whispers from Neptune's kingdom, where the mermaids drift. In many ways, "Voice Of The Sea" reminds me of early Mermen songs, with similar structures and melody lines. Very pretty and moody.

Surf Train dotdotdotdot
Locomotive Surf (Instrumental)

Veteran Impact Martin Brown lays down very groovy lap steel on this magnificent train tune. I've always like his playing and writing, and he surely shines here. An excellent song, rhythmic and catchy, moody and dark, and definitely open road material.

Sex Wax and Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pure vintage R&B influenced surf-n-soul. The delicately picked damped leads are wonderful. The whole thing grins with anticipation and a carefree attitude. A very groovy track.