Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Laika and the Cosmonauts - Surf's You Right / C'Mon Do The Laikadotdotdot
artworkThis CD combines their first two albums. It's a solid look at the early days of Laika & the Cosmonauts, before fame and bright lights. Some tracks are great, others quite good, and a few are less interesting. The sound is marginally OK. This is a piece of surf revival history worth owning.
Picks: C'mon Do The Laika, Out Of Limits, Rampage, Beat Girl, Lonely Bull, Fugitive, James Bond Theme, 1'45, Beat '88, Penetration, Salt Mine Twist, Misirlou, Fear, Zero Gravity, Baja, Moondawg, Surf's You Right, Bullseye, King Cobra, Oahu Luau, Zunami, A Night In Tunisia, Don't Monkey With Tarzan, Caravan, Surf-Ro-Mania, Fadeaway, Point Of No Return, And Suddenly You Run

Track by Track Review


C'mon Do The Laika dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Progression based Euro instro instro. It's a fun though slightly weird track, with almost muddy sound and keys and guitars. Not their best track, but typically early Laika and the Cosmonauts.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a decent cover, moderately interesting due to the Euro treatment, and the near grin on the faces of the band. The keys are just so cheesy.

Rampage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is spirited performance of the Challengers' track. It is quite fun, and very energetic. The drums are quite hot, and the twisted whammy that Glenn Gray used in the original are here. Wonderful.

Beat Girl dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

John Barry's theme from the film of the same name. This is more rockin' than the original, and equally filmy. It spits pop corn at the drive in and the beat generation. Very nice.

Lonely Bull dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

An average translation of the Herb Alpert / Tijuana Brass mega-hit, not as interesting as the Dream Syndicate's or the Swamis' versions, but pretty reverent and very listenable. The mariachi horns are missing, and not replaced with anything as strong as a dreamy guitar, though it pleases the senses anyway.

Fugitive dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

The Fugitives' did this, and the Ventures offered it up later. This is very progression based, but it works, and the ringing space guitar in the break is really good. Fun track.

James Bond Theme dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Plucky MOR with John Barry big guitar. The cocktails are flowing, and the British teens are eagerly eavesdropping on private spy conversations. The organ is a bit hard to take, but otherwise it's a decent though unremarkable cover.

1'45 dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Fast, sporty, foxy, and quite tame compared to their live renditions. That's not a bad thing, because this song is written well enough to handle different approaches with ease. It's melodic, quirky, and fun. Round smooth tones.

Beat '88 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Richie Podolor tune that the Surfaris did. This is a faster version, more spunky and less prone to the drama of the intended hesitation. The fiery pace is augmented with flying drums. Mighty hot.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A standard cover of the Ventures version of the Pyramids' hit. Nothing special, and the organ is too cheesy for me, especially when coupled with those awful string slides that the Ventures added.

Salt Mine Twist dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This is a really nice original. It has a mysterious intrigue about it. The energy is solid, and the melody is simple and catchy. It's both bouncy lite and ominous dark. Very cool track.

Misirlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very surfy and wet delivery, with a definite Euro bent, and a totally unique arrangement. A fine track, with lot's of shimmer to suck you in.

Fear dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

The Ventures' version of this is more thin and terror laden , while this is more haunted, and sports almost vibraphone guitar tones. Really a nice cover.

Zero Gravity dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

A hokey drum beat, a cooler than though progression, and a growling organ combine for a nifty sound, but an unmemorable tune. It's nice, but doesn't stick.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato, grumbling bass, and a haunted guitar sound offer a different variation on the Lee Hazelwood monster made a hit by the Astronauts. This is a nice version, sporting a gentler sound and feel. Quite effective

Moondawg dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Even faster than the Gamblers' original, but a lot less intense. This is a hard song to screw up, and they don't. This is quite listenable.

Surf's You Right dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Shreddin' ska backed raging surf, with screams of joy sprinkled in, and a bridge that's unique and out of this world. Melodic, low-E growling, spiffy glissandoes, and even a tiny bit of the old double pick.

Bullseye dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Organ and soft guitar combine for a relatively tame track. The melody is nice, but the feeling just ain't there. Muddy.

King Cobra dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Cool Las Vegas runway drums, shimmering guitars, and a sixties sleaze melody are all together here. The combination provides a song perfect for a TV ad. There are a few Middle Eastern twinges, but mostly it's strip joint romantic.

Oahu Luau dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

There's nothing like faux Polynesian stylings a la Martin Denny et. al. to get your mai tai flowing. It's hokey enough, and hotel grass shack smooth.

Zunami dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Melodic in a film score way, augmented with mighty fine glissandoes and double picking. It's quite surf worthy. Memorable, melodic, energetic, and the sax is a cool addition.

A Night In Tunisia dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

There was a lot of jazz in Southern California surf instros back in the days of old. This is a hot rendition of a spiffy jazz number from the fifties. It's a natural for the Euro instro sound.

Don't Monkey With Tarzan dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Laika Y Bubbas took a totally non-surf, rather boring late fifties/early sixties nothing single, added surf backing and rounded lead tones, and got an end result that's quite appealing. Even the Tarzan calls that are so annoying in the original are acceptable, even fit in well here. Their sense of the absurd and humor carry off what others only muck up.

Caravan dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Stuck halfway between lounge and easy listening, this is like the Ventures with a martini.

Surf-Ro-Mania dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Traditional Euro folk melody and styles, glissandoes and double picking, like you'd like 'em to do at the bar mitzvah. Not much melody, mostly an ambiance of line dancing Baltic fishermen. A fun track for sure.

Fadeaway dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Slow and silky romantic easy to swallow melodic and smooth. This is quite a pretty song, and the guitar work is delicate and tasty.

Point Of No Return dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

There's a sax layered over the top, and a plunky backtrack, with a low-in-the-mix guitar. Quite fun and energetic.

And Suddenly You Run
Euro (Instrumental)

Slow shimmering vibrato of the fifties detective in a black trench coat variety. Smooth and sadly romantic. Gumshoe in paradise.