Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Knights - In Progressiondotdotdot
artworkThis CD is subtitled A Progressive Surf-Rock Instrumental Adventure. That's a good way to encapsulate the general sound of the disc. The father-son team of Dick and Jason Stewart wrote most of the material together, and their angular contrasting sounds compliment the songs well in nearly all cases. This is a fine work, not for the traditionalist, but off the beaten path, and quite enjoyable.
Picks: In Progression, Ragtime Surf, Toneon, Yellow Jacket, Awakening, Surfin' The Badlands, Pipeline, Shelbi With An 'I', Aqua Loco, Simple Wonders

Track by Track Review


In Progression dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Classical noodlery and military drums open to a flowing piece with surf and fuzz intermixed. The catchy surf melody is nicely offset against the fuzz rhythm much the way Planet Seven does things, but with more emphasis on flow. Quite a fine track.

Ragtime Surf dotdot
Guitar (Instrumental)

Delicate acoustic guitar brings forth a soft track with a distant personality. "Ragtime Surf" didn't connect with me at all until the break where the whole band came in.

Toneon dotdotdot
Future Surf (Instrumental)

"Toneon" is an adventurous instro with trad roots and a futurist vision. The riff is simple and very effective. It haws a pleasant rhythmic sound.

Yellow Jacket dotdot
Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Jason Stewart's Gary Hoey-ish guitar carries lead here. While well played, it's when he drops back behind Dick Stewart's more traditional sound in the break that the song sound interesting. It does present a stark contrast between surf traditional and guitar hero.

Awakening dotdotdotdot
Cultured Surf (Instrumental)

"Awakening" is a very smooth and fluid track with interesting guitar tones and fine playing. Classically influenced and very circular, it is an infectious track with a sense of refinement and culture.

Surfin' The Badlands dotdotdotdot
Dangerous Surf (Instrumental)

Jason Stewart's modern work here is very appealing, with excellent rhythm chops and thick fluid lines. "Surfin' The Badlands" portrays a dangerous forbidding place with a romantic appeal riding just atop a meat grinder bandito waiting to kill you for your possessions. The slide guitar adds a greater sense of the desert. This is a very cool track.

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Iron Pipe Surf (Instrumental)

"Pipeline" succumbs once again to a rebirth. The contrast between the two guitarist's styles and sounds creates a post Johnny Thunders surf revival sound that compliments this most flexible of all surf instros. Exceptional!

Shelbi With An 'I' dotdotdot
Flirtatious Surf (Instrumental)

Island breezes flip the skirts of wahines on the verandah overlooking Kona's long curl. "Shelbi With An 'I'" is a little cowboy, a little Polynesian, and very pretty.

Aqua Loco dotdotdotdot
Liquid Metal Surf (Instrumental)

"Aqua Loco" straddles the metal chop fence like Michael Schenker wishing he understood Tommy Nunes. That might sound odd, even negative, but it's not. The contrast between the playful surf leads and the metal rhythm chops and aggressive glissandoes is stark and intriguing. Great track.

Simple Wonders dotdotdot
New Age Surf (Instrumental)

The opening chords to "Simple Wonders" hint of a new age swirling journey, and in some ways, that's just what emerges. It's quiet and pretty, more than the usual new age backdrop, but not quite memorable. I suspect that progressive fans and closet hippies will dig this.