Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Looney Tunes - The Modern Sounds Of The Looney Tunesdotdotdotdot
artworkGermany's most active surf band delivers CD number two. Where the first was more cover oriented and traditional in sound, this one contains more originals, and is a bit more adventurous. The performances are great, and the sound is rich. I think it's a bit less consistent, where the first was all about the same value hook-wise, this has some really killer tracks, as well as a few tracks I found to be a tad boring. The three best tracks for my money are "Der Ölprinz", "Gül Bachar", and "Tabou." All in all, a good CD. I wish there were more German bands. The cultural intensity of "Kraüt Rock" bands like Amon Düül II seems a natural for the surf scene. After all, it is in part Dick Dale's intensity that carries him. Imagine "Paralyzed Paradise" all reverbed out & played on shimmering Fender Jazzmaster! No, there's nothing like that here, but, just imagine! This is primal surf, with good arranging. Dig the reverb.
Picks: Searchlights, Wild Action, Stampede, Santa Cruz, Space Race, Thunderbird, Der Ölprinz, Gül Bachar, Sebastopol Stomp, Swingin' Creeper, Sunrise Surf, Theme From Exodus, Return Of Moby Dick, Tabou, Kara Ben Nemsi Effendi, Backdoor

Track by Track Review

Searchlights dotdotdot
Bee Hive (Instrumental)

Chunky bee hive picking, sliding into noodly riff rock. It was cool for a few bars.

Wild Action dotdotdot
Chop Shop (Instrumental)

Guitar chop riff dominated progressions, whammy suavity, and coy little slides. Quite refreshing, and friendly. Tasty.

Stampede dotdotdot
Barnyard Riff (Instrumental)

Chicken pickin', barnyard struttin', menagerie rock of Laika & the Cosmonauts proportions.

Santa Cruz dotdotdot
Organ Surf (Instrumental)

Surfy second guitar, spiffy tones, under an organ lead that whistles like a poor man's Johnny & the Hurricanes. OK.

Space Race dotdotdot
Buzzy Riff (Instrumental)

Los Straitjackets styles progression, riffed constantly. Not very interesting after the first couple of buzzes.

Thunderbird dotdotdot
Italian Island (Instrumental)

Whammy twang, Italian imagery, and island sway, like something the Blue Hawaiians might adapt to their polished lap steel sound. A fine track, interesting and pretty.

Der Ölprinz dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big guitar surf, slowish, lumbering even. Low E fun with bumpy glissandoes. This is the sort of very simple tune that really works well. Darn nice.

Gül Bachar dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This is a hilarious instro, like a New Orleans jump jazz number, with the sax and organ grunting out an R&B riff, occasionally interrupted with a Joe Huston sax sound. No surf, but way too fun. Previously unreleased.

Sebastopol Stomp dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A slow slinky sorta tune, played with grins all around, and a bouncy beat for the feet. The premise is so silly, that you have to enjoy it. This track reminds me a little of San Jose's Jaguars, another "show" band with a great draw. This is more fun oriented, where the Jaguars were more pop oriented. Simple infectious riffs and standard blues guitar breaks, no new ground, but a ton of friendly fun.

Swingin' Creeper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The faster than life "Night Stick" arrangement, but reverbed instead of go-go guitared. Fun, fast, furious, damped surf for a high speed weekend at the shore.

Sunrise Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Over reverbed production, but a splendid melody and excellent Spanish feel. It's sad and pretty, and drips an early morning coastal drive. This track shows off the prowess of this German band despite the limited production.

Theme From Exodus dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"Slow Bandido" at half speed, with the gourd and the spiffy percussion, saucy sax, and oh-so-cool guitar lines. This is sultry in a back alley sort of way that brings certain sly grins to the stiffest of faces. Completely different character than the "hit" version. There's shimmer, almost Viscounts arranging, yet it retains the bizarre tweakiness of the single.

Return Of Moby Dick dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Labeled a vocal, this track sports only the chanted chorus "take it off" between lines. Otherwise, it is an prancin' instro based on a basic riff, which breaks into a few slinky guitar lines which add extra grin power. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Tabou dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This is your basic end-of-set see you next time kind of number. You can visualize the sax and guitar players twisting left and right in sync with the beat in red blazers and skinny black ties. Defining fun and the club scene of the early-mid sixties. In some ways, they sound a lot like the very early Sly and the family Stone when Sylvester Stewart's band played at Wayne Manor in Sunnyvale and were still on Autumn Records. Unreserved fun and showmanship. This is just more suited for a frat than the Fillmore.

Kara Ben Nemsi Effendi dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is like a backtrack. It also works well as a mid tempo sock hop thriller. It sways and flows, and it reaches into the soul. It is the grins of the players that comes through the performance that separates this from otherwise easily dismissed party rock.

Backdoor dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Super slow sax swooner, and almost a parody of the genre at that. It is just serious enough to be taken as a serious slow dancer, yet the sax lines are delivered with a sort of dead panned white bread precision that only slightly masks the fun being poked. The vibrato guitar break is really pretty.