Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Langhorns - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkI like this a mighty fine CD-R a lot. This Swedish band seems to be the first to do justice to surf instrumentals, while their countrymen focus on California beach music a la the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. This advance disc is loaded with very strong originals that conjure images of the outdoors, and covers that are uniquely arranged and performed. In this day of too many covers of tunes like Penetration, it's nice to find original reinventions that are at once reverent to the source and identifiably new. Much of the guitar work here is nearly liquid, not reverbed surf, but fluidly flowing, with notes almost blending one to another. I'm impressed.
Picks: Tierra del Fuego, Penetration, Mother Of Earth, Buccaneer, The Sinner, El Guapo, Knuckleduster / Squad Car, John Doe, The Quiet Surf, Latin'ia, Awesome, Langhorn, The Poker, The Eternal Wave, Pretty Please

Track by Track Review

Tierra del Fuego dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine surf tune. It is a mid tempo number, colorful and full of imagery. The trumpet adds a mariachi rock edge. The guitar ranges from surfy reverb to EchoPlexed modern tones. The melody rolls over the ears pleasantly, and the arrangement is solid. Named for the Southern tip of South America that Charles Darwin found so significant in his journey on the Beagle, this track is an adventurous trip to major surf. "Tierra del Fuego" segues into the "Penetration."

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not many covers of this tune rank highly, because most are strait covers, or are pedestrian performances. The liquid guitar lines and tones, coupled with the intense whammy and gentle feedback/sustain, create a really solid rendition. Quite nice.

Mother Of Earth dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very pretty cowboy sounding tune, with a round melody that floats across the horizon. The fluidity of the guitar lines is stunning. The placid imagery of a journey across a vast open plain is unmistakable, like a panorama passing outside an open window on a sultry summer rain day.

Buccaneer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A rolling beat, sporty glissandoes, traditional whammy, modern thematic melody, and great tones all add up to a fine track. The overall effect is a memorable and pretty tune with a traveling air about it. The changes in lead guitar approach from verse to verse help keep it fresh.

The Sinner dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slinky exotic tones, shimmering vibrato, bongos, and a mysterious almost spy theme melody carry off this fluid track. Intense whammified and double picked power punch riffs eventually erupt from the silky flow, but soon enough returns to the liquid images.

El Guapo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and flowing melody, haunting second guitar tones, and a Spanish theme set the scene for this cabana sequence soundtrack. The black-laced señorita with the red rose that is conjured by this aural painting is standing just off the patio, gazing at the square where the mid-afternoon siesta is coming to an end in anticipation of the contest with el toro. I'm not making this up. It's the image that came to mind while listening to this fine track. The distant trumpet adds to the mystique. And the name means?

Knuckleduster / Squad Car dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Knuckleduster / Squad Car" is chunky thundering, fast paced fluid playing, and infectious melody lines create an interesting and watery sound. This sports a few fine changes. It is also a medley, integrating "Squad Car" into it's end. "Squad Car" has a more textured sound, maybe closer to Paul Johnson's original home demo than the hit Eddie and the Showmen version. This is a powerful portrayal of one of the best surf instros ever.

John Doe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a gentler track, relying more on fluid tonality than power. It has a solid melody, and the guitar playing is nearly liquid. Fine tune.

The Quiet Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An exotic beat, precise harmonics whammied into Hawaiian ecstasy, and that fluid playing create a splendid and original cover of this most beautiful of all Richie Podolor tunes. It's big and dramatic, and it's gentle and almost subtle. Beautiful.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tommy Nunes' fantastic Latin surf masterpiece is taken a step further. It has an exotic fluidity, and is augmented with numerous original inventions. Like the Mermen's incredible jazz-psych recreation, this incorporates a few of the Jim Waller jazz ideas, and a passel of entirely new melody lines launched off the original song. Gorgeous.

Awesome dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Duane Eddy-like guitar line opens this hypnotic semi-surf number. I think this is the weakest track on the disc.

Langhorn dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Namesake songs are always interesting. They are often written early in a band's development, and frequently end up being atypical of their sound. This borders on that rule. It's a power number, accented with flying EchoPlexed glissandoes and big chords. Its melody is not as strong as most tracks here. Still, it is a fine track.

The Poker dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an odd little tune, fluid, playful, with slippery guitar sounds in the opening verse, replaced by shredding double picked lead lines in the rest. It all comes crashing to a close with that archetypal surf whammy chord.

The Eternal Wave dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slower number, evoking images of a glassy lagoon on a warm afternoon. Pretty, fluid, and picturesque. It is a very long track, clocking in at over seven minutes, though the last half is just the sounds of the sea shore. You can set quite a mood in that amount of time. It's not of the Adventures in Paradise ilk, but rather of the surf-gone-Hawaiian family of drifting tunes. Great ringing chords. Very pretty.

Pretty Please dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Club crowd sounds, chunky R&B progression, and some cheesy stop-start changes a la Last Night with the sax honking in the back. This is probably a warm-up or break tune. Cool, but not very original.