Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Robert Johnson and Punchdrunks - Cinemascope-A-Dopedotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a whole new adventure for Sweden's best kept secret. Robert Johnson and Punchdrunks usual bombastic rhythmic punk-rooted surf infused guitar chunk is augmented and interlaced with some really beautiful guitar lines, an inverted Ventures In Space vision, and techie effects and keys. If that sounds like a juxtaposition of incongruities, it isn't. The band has woven many disparate elements into a powerful and very listenable musical tapestry. Now a decade away from their roots in the Bottle Ups, Johnson has evolved into an even more magnetic guitarist, and the band has expanded beyond their fine construct into the world of film score. This is an excellent CD.
Picks: Scientifically Raw, Cantina El Loco, Old Superstition (Works In A Different Age), Lips From Louisville, Surf As Houdini, Congo Square, Groovin' With Mr. Blue, Blade Runner, New Interns Watusi, Scientifically Raw (version), Galveston Giant, Cantina El Loco (demo version), Portamento El Loco

Track by Track Review


Scientifically Raw dotdotdot
Punkoidal Post Surf (Instrumental)

"Scientifically Raw" is a highly rhythmic extra chunky tune with weird guitar effects that give it a sci-fi feel over the punkoidal backtrack. It's pretty repetitious, yet very intense and powerful. A completely harsh time in the a spin cycle.

Cantina El Loco dotdotdotdot
Sci-Fi (Instrumental)

A bit of soft Spanish flair delivered with pristine guitar work. This is a very gentle tune, with a Theremin-like female voice traveling with the melody line. Unlike most of the music Robert Johnson has produced, this is quite pretty. The warbling voice is gives it a sci-fi edge.

Old Superstition (Works In A Different Age) dotdotdotdot
Post Punk (Instrumental)

Well, isn't this an interesting track. With a rhythm guitar as intense as and in the mold of the Buzzcocks' "Something's Gone Wrong Again," but with an intense and filmy melody line. Relentless pluck and buzz. makes me grin.

Lips From Louisville dotdotdotdot
Surf Film (Instrumental)

"Lips From Louisville" is a very nice surf instro, with fuzz and reverb, and a slow floating melody line displaying subdued aquatic prowess. This is very smooth and pretty.

Surf As Houdini dotdotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

"Surf As Houdini" reminds me of what might happen if Hawkwind surfed Malibu. Driving reverbed guttural low-E guitar, throbbing psycho space rhythms and noises, and inventive production. Dangerous and adventurous, this simply powers and writhes its way into your psyche.

Congo Square dotdotdotdot
Post Modern Exotica (Instrumental)

Exotica underpinnings, post modern tone, warbly wails, melodic soaring guitar, and surfable ethics. "Congo Square" is one mean mother of a smoky piano bar inversion. The electro warbles and feedback make it quirky and mean. A fine track.

Groovin' With Mr. Blue dotdotdot
Space Adventure (Instrumental)

Groovin' is right... "Groovin' With Mr. Blue" sports a very cool melody line, great bass thunder, warbling keys, and a relentless beat. very nice track.

Blade Runner dotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Fast space race adventures in the twilight zone where the Ventures idea has been inverted, converted, and deserted. Howling, intense, and eerie. A cool ride on a point of flame through a galaxy far far away...

New Interns Watusi dotdotdotdotdot
Dangerous (Instrumental)

The great Earl Hagen ("Harlem Nocturne") wrote this. The groovy Robert Johnson and Punchdrunks brought relentless surf rhythm and hypnotic percussion to it, with haunted guitar and keyboard work. The magic of Hagen's writing has always been its flexibility and its dockside danger. There's something unbalanced about the images this invokes, the kind you can't explain with the lights on.

Scientifically Raw (version) dotdotdotdot
Punkoidal Post Surf (Instrumental)

"Scientifically Raw" gets an even chunkier presentation... very cool, and very powerful.

Galveston Giant dotdotdotdot
Coy Sci-Fi (Instrumental)

Surf guitar, plodding rhythm, coy melody patterns, and a relentlessly circling psycho daze. Ominous, dangerous, threatening... almost evil. The super slow pick slide is a brilliant addition. It's like a sci-fi film for your ears.

Cantina El Loco (demo version) dotdotdotdot
Spanish (Instrumental)

This lower tech version of "Cantina El Loco" is much prettier. No gimmicks, just gorgeous surf guitar and a soft flowing melody. Beautiful and sad.

Portamento El Loco dotdotdotdot
Personal Electro (Instrumental)

Drum machine, keyboard plinking out a playful melody, and some very nice arrangement ideas. It's techie, yet warm and human. Nice track.