Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jetpack - Surfin' To No Doubtdotdotdot
artworkThe big problem is that No Doubt is just not a very melodic band. Their songs, while not monotone, just aren't conducive to whistling or humming, and these arrangements are not fiery enough in most cases to overcome that. Many of these tracks sound like backtracks waiting for a melody to erupt over the top. I suppose if you were a No Doubt fan, you might like this stuff more than I do. For my money, this CD is mostly dismissible.
Picks: Hey Baby!, Sunday Morning, Don't Speak, Just A Girl, Simple Kind Of Life, Bathwater, Don't Let Me Down, Spiderwebs, Running, Ex-Girlfriend, Hella Good, Underneath It All

Track by Track Review

Hey Baby! dotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Basically directionless, "Hey Baby!" makes you wonder if there will ever be a melody line. Sadly, the track would serve as a solid backtrack for a surf instro were a melody to appear.

Sunday Morning dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Sunday Morning" is a reasonable song to instrumentalize, though just barely. The double picked lead keeps it surfable, but it's not the sort of thing you'd hum or come back to.

Don't Speak dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Soft stereo guitars and a throbbing lead haunt in a subdued background kind of way. Once the melody arrives, "Don't Speak" has enough melody and flow to work as a surf instro. It oscillates between slow throb and fastish surf.

Just A Girl dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Soft and fluid, "Just A Girl" flows smoothly through a backwater of memories. Romantic and soothing, with tremolo lead and a tasteful melody. Pretty, but unremarkable.

Simple Kind Of Life dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Verging on interesting, "Simple Kind Of Life" uses stereo guitars that seem just too gimmicky to hold attention for long. Otherwise, it's a serviceable track with an almost catchy line.

Bathwater dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Dark throbbing tremolo and moody bass, along with eerie behind the bridge notes, create a scary and excellent graveyard mourner. Perhaps the most interesting of all the tracks here, "Bathwater" is at times very engaging.

Don't Let Me Down dotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Don't Let Me Down" is kind of cheesy and gimmicky at times, and it just never gets anywhere.

Spiderwebs dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

A great beat and throbbing second guitar (or is that a keyboard?) create a cowboy underbelly for a satisfying instro. "Spiderwebs" bounces through the cactus sandscape of a spaghetti western dream. Quite nice.

Running dotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Running" is a slow and unimpressive track that depends on the tremolo for its life. The melody line is minimal, but adequate. Not more than soft and pretty.

Ex-Girlfriend dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

About the most surf track on the disc, "Ex-Girlfriend" relies on the sound for its effect because there's so little melody. There is some drama, and the arrangement is well thought out.

Hella Good dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A spunky beat and cheesy guitar tones left and right create a gimmicky backing for a lackluster lead guitar. There is a definite danger in the surf imagery about it at times, but it's not particularly endearing.

Underneath It All dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A great tribal Bo Diddley beat drives this tremolo number along. More fluffy and poppy than surf, yet enjoyable.