Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Insect Surfers - Reverb Sundotdotdotdot
artworkFirst studio album for the Insects since Dave left DC in the early eighties. This is one of the most inventive and original instro surf bands. They came from eighties pop roots, passed through the Southwest where they picked up a unique variation on the mysterious sounds of the desert, and landed on the Southern California shores, where the surf instro ethic was added to the mix. the result is a wholly unique sound, infectious and readily identifiable. One of the keys is the perfect counter-playing of the two lead guitars, which create wonderful offsets and complimentary ambiances in which great tracks evolve. One of my favorite modern surf bands.
Picks: Meteorite Shower, Ghost Train, Polaris, Mojave, Gary Busey, Zuma Slam, Grunion Run, Outsider, Halley's Beach, Pleasure Point, Hot N' Glassy, Insect Stomp, Bouzouki, Surf Sun And Sound

Track by Track Review


Meteorite Shower dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This is an infectious tune with a strong melody. It has a driven magnetism about it. The optimism is clear, but so is the energy. There's something uniquely Insect Surfer about it, with the trademark twin lead guitar interplay that defines the Insects. It displays more watery fun and desert delight than just about any tune on disc. It was originally titled "Electric Dayglow Meteorite Shower."

Ghost Train dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This locomotively driven tune sports whistle chords, and a melodic power line that shouts "train a-comin'." Grinding, cool, and ready for the tunnel.

Polaris dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This is one perfect instro. The melody line features the kind of hooks that stay with you, the arrangement is nearly magical, and the imagery is stunning. This is a mid tempo beautifully written and played tune with subtle drama and picturesque guitar tones.

Mojave dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most spectacular middle eastern surf tracks around. It hollers Bouzoukis and belly dancers, yet it also displays ample southwest desert edge and mystery. A highly energetic, melodic, and absolutely infectious track.

Gary Busey dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

A choppy fairly unmelodic number dedicated to those who ride without helmets, crash, and then say "shuck, it didn't hurt much" as they drool out of the side of their face. Actually, I think that requiring helmets is stupid. What is needed is indemnity for the other driver against recovering when available protection hardware is not employed. That goes for seat belts, air bags etc. You can't legislate protection of people from themselves, but you can limit their ability to blame others for their actions. OK, I'm off my soapbox.

Zuma Slam dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Vocal)

This is one of two vocals here. It's a leftover from the days just after DC, when songs like "Barricade Beach" were still in the set. I usually loathe surf vocals, but the Insects' craft work with the words always transcended my self-imposed limitations. I dearly miss "VOA" and "Up Periscope." Any way, this is a fine song about doing the Zuma slam... as well we all should. It's not a pick because it's a vocal and this is an instro web site, but I love this chunky track.

Grunion Run dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

A high energy instro with numerous changes, infectious guitar noodleage, dribbling notes, and magnetic joy. The Halibuts have a song called "Grunion Run," but this isn't a cover of that tune.

Outsider dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This is all about waiting on your board for that long thin dark shadow-line that appears on the horizon, and builds until someone shouts "OUTSIDER!" It shreds, it double-pick pounds, it growls, it groans, and it's killer!

Halley's Beach dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This is among the early Insect Surfers instros. It has a truly fine melody, infectious and joyous. The track displays a major amount of coolness, using harmonics perfectly. This is just plain great!

Pleasure Point dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Named for the Santa Cruz surf spot, this sax lead track has a more ominous edge than most of their work, but also sports their fun and fluid guitar sounds.

Hot N' Glassy dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

I think this is among the least melodic of the Insect Surfers songs, but even as such, it is a fun jam with plenty of flair.

Insect Stomp dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

A sax lead number, driven by an almost ska backtrack, with an infectious rhythm that almost demands body movement. The guitar leads dribble off perfect notes sputtered at great speed. Bluesy, tropical, and energetic.

Bouzouki dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

This tune is dedicated to the fabled classic Greek instrument that inspired Dick Dale's double picking. It combines the trad Greek ethic with surf guitar and bits of "Miserlou." A very strong track.

Surf Sun And Sound dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Vocal)

An eighties pop chord structure, an enthusiastic beach lyric, and a bit of surf 'n' spy and blues.