Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jonny and the Shamen - Adventures In Espionage...dotdotdotdot
artworkIt's been a year and a half sine their last release. This a definite step up, with tight well crafted songs, and excellent surf sounds. The theme may be espionage, and the writing may lean that way, but underlying that is solid surfability. An excellent release.
Picks: Push The Start Button, Mr. Hyde, Dick Tracy, Stratosphere Mortuary Theme, Boris Bomb, Spy's Night Out, Clip the Wrong Wire, Crime, Vertigo, J.A.T.S. Are Go!, From Dusk 'Till Dawn, Lullaby of the Leaves, Peter Gunn

Track by Track Review


Push The Start Button dotdot
Noise (Instrumental)

Extreme noise... throbbing tone... that's it. It's an introductory bit, not a song.

Mr. Hyde dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Major big spy sounding on the grodie low-E surf guitar. Dissonant, mean, and dangerous. trashy, without being trashed. Lots of power, plenty of noise, and rich tone.

Dick Tracy dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

With the rhythm track feel from Les Black Carnations' "Voices Scream And Murmur," this driven surf monster powers the tubes, rages along the beach on a horse with no name (sorry, I couldn't resist), and infectiously carries the rider along. Spy surf grunge.

Stratosphere Mortuary Theme dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

theremin wailing, grinding monster spy sounds, espionage garage feel, and a quirky riff that's just shy of melodic. Solid double picking, with speedy finger work.

Boris Bomb dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato throb, eerie tones, a coll riff, reverb a plenty, and a solid beat. This fine track straddles the line between the surf and the trench coated agents sound. The damped reverb second guitar really makes this work. Excellent track.

Spy's Night Out dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Someplace between spy and cool for cats jive, this solid track is very entertaining and most enjoyable. The rockabilly drums, the beatnik riff, the surfin' spy tone... it's more than a poor boy can handle. Very cool.

Clip the Wrong Wire dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Excellent surf backtrack, strong melody riff, and a visual sense of rainy day spy escapes, like if "The Village" were actually Malibu. I like this a lot, especially the heavy damped reverb chunk.

Crime dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Slightly Neil Hefty feeling, "Crime" sports an adventurous and chunky feel, a wet and wild edge. It may be a mid tempo number, but if races with the senses.

Vertigo dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

No loss of balance here. This is pure surf. A touch of "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue," a bit of open road adventure, and a lot of enjoyment. This is a fine track.

J.A.T.S. Are Go! dotdotdot
Chicken Bop Surf (Instrumental)

Riff surf, simplistic, more frat rock than melodic, with spiffy glissandoes well placed and delivered. A chicken bop break, a Los Straitjackets structure, and lot's of energy, yet little to keep it in RAM for long.

From Dusk 'Till Dawn dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Surf (Instrumental)

Spaghetti western feel and open road flow, like a Richie Podolor tune blended with hints of "Mr. Moto" for good measure. The rolling drums are excellent, and the bass work very fitting. It's really quite effective, and very good listening.

Lullaby of the Leaves dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

The Ventures splashed this up first of course. This is a pretty strait cover, more reverby, and maybe a little faster, but it's reverent and very good. A nice choice to cover in this set.

Peter Gunn dotdotdot
Synthesizer (Instrumental)

The keyboard does the whole thing... it's an interesting treatment, and a curious aside from the rest of the disc. It's just over 2 minutes in length. Out at the 9:30 mark is a lock groove computer voice thanking you for playing the game.