Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Insect Surfers - East Westdotdotdotdotdot
artworkLA's desert surf staples and long time KFJC live regulars the Insect Surfers have issued their long awaited 10 EP. Five tracks from their unreleased 2nd (or 4th, depending on your point of view) album, plus two live tracks from KFJC's first Summer Surf show. They are such a fine band. The lineup is Dave Arnson - guitar, Dan Sullivan - guitar, Dan Vallenti - Bass, and Jeff Utterback - drums, except for "Razorback", which features Mike O'Neill - bass, and Steve Birdowski - drums (ex-Jon and the Nightriders). "Starfish Ranch" and "Jack The Ripper" are the live tracks.
Picks: Tiger Shark, Third Stone, Razorback, Starfish Ranch, 77 Gaza Strip, Bengazi, Jack The Ripper

Track by Track Review

Tiger Shark dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Tiger Shark" opens the album with finite feedback, which evolves into a heavy growling riff with a very cool chunky melody over the top. This is one of those highly infectious Insect Surfer songs that can be identified as theirs without ever having heard it before. A fine track.

Third Stone dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Third Stone" is an Insect's eye view of Jimi Hendrix's real message to the world, that the worst fate of man was the passing of surf music, that, for your sins, "may you never hear surf music again." Inspired by, but surely apart from Jimi's tune, this is a totally original and Roswellian epic, with dueling leads and great tension.

Razorback dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Pick slides slam into a melodic bluesy progression in "Razorback," resulting in a desert mystique that projects images of cacti and mysterious moving rocks around which razorbacks search for chow.

Starfish Ranch dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

The Insect Surfers had played 3 or 4 times at KFJC in the pit, once even in the lobby from which they released several tracks commercially. In '94, they played Summer Surf I, and that's where this track comes from. It's not on the Summer Surf CD. Their unique vision of surf comes from eighties sensibilities and a reverent helping of the mysterious southwest desert.

77 Gaza Strip dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"77 Gaza Strip" features exotic rhythms and dueling leads. While it's name conjures expectations of the late fifties Warner Brothers Television detective series 77 Sunset Strip, which starred Efram Zimbalist Jr., and cult idol Ed "Kookie" Byrnes, there the similarity ends. This is a fine Middle Eastern epic surf slam.

Bengazi dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

The other major influence in the Insects music, after recognizing the Southwest, Surf, and the Buzzcocks, is Middle Eastern melodies and structures. "Bengazi" oozes this sound woven seamlessly into the Insect web.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Wray Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about the ultimate "Jack The Ripper." Recorded live at Summer Surf I, the Insect Surfers give new intensity to this venerable classic. High potency rock and surf, dueling guitars, rhythmic drive, great drums, thundering bass... what more is needed?