Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Impala - Square Jungledotdotdot
artworkThere was a lot of positive chatter about this CD from the peanut gallery when it first saw the light of day, so I was expecting something quite different. My acid test is: am I left with a melody and/or a strong sense of pleasure associated with the sound. There are a couple of pretty strong tracks here, but generally production is too sound-board-like for my taste, with too much kick drum, not enough guitar, thin overbearing bass, and small-sounding drums. Over all, a shallow sound, but with some good performances.
Picks: Herculanium, Rope Of Sand, Big Noise From The Jungle, Choctaw, Diamond Head, Another Day, Another Man, Jet Action Brunette, DonŐt Ride With Arnold Friend, Square Jungle, St. James Infirmary, Lady In A Cage, Night Full Of Sirens

Track by Track Review

Herculanium dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Herculanium" is quite poundy, but weak in the melody department. Sax squonk and surf rhythm guitar. Lots of energy and a bridge borrowed from "Casbah."

Rope Of Sand dotdotdot
Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Sultry lounge thinking and surf 'n' soul groovin' dominate this more or less riff rocker. Soft and slurried with the shimmer of shallow vibrato, "Rope Of Sand" portrays a vision of distant exotic danger.

Big Noise From The Jungle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Impala cover "Big Noise From The Winnetka." It's a cool idea, but this being a really big drum song, I was really disappointed in how shallow the drum kit sounded. Nonetheless, "Big Noise From The Jungle" has a saucy tribal feel to it.

Choctaw dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Choctaw" has a cool aura about it. It's written like many a basic vintage surf tune, and played pretty straight. The organ adds a sense of lounge, and the weak mix leaves the guitar too low, and the bass and kick drum too upfront, which saps the energy of the performance. Coulda been 4 or 5 stars.

Diamond Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Diamond Head" is nicely arranged, though the melody line is not quite correctly. I'd like to have had less sax, or at least not bluesy/jazzy sax, and a lot less kick drum thump.

Another Day, Another Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Another Day, Another Man" is a saucy nasty Vegas kinda tune, with raw sax in the dominant slot. Powerful, but not lasting.

Jet Action Brunette dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thumpy riff rockin' and groovin' with whammy, "Another Day, Another Man" is an infectious and rhythmic track with a lounge feel to the melody, though the guitar is intense.

DonŐt Ride With Arnold Friend dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Flat eighties demo drums detract from a throbbing vibrato assault. The sax ominously duets with the guitar before taking the lead. mean and nasty.

Square Jungle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grumbly and rumbly, and mixed oddly, as if the compressor's threshold was set way too high. Anyway, the song itself is very cool. Rhythmic and surfy, chunky and cool. Double picked lines and plaintiff sax calls.

St. James Infirmary dotdotdotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

The classic "St. James Infirmary" is vibrato throbbed, with an almost serrated knife feel. Doubled sax and a military beat. Quite effective!

Lady In A Cage dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Punk and scatter square waves chunk and thrash as the "Lady In A Cage" does her dance with the lemmings. Fast double picked fire and glissandoes, plus lots of energy.

Night Full Of Sirens dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Long slow grodie low-E guitar notes meander through dangerous neighborhood late at night . Pretty in a don't go there kinda way.