Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Madeira - Carpe Noctemdotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis band just keeps getting better and better. Ivan's crew are superb players, and the writing and arranging are top notch. This disc is chock full of mysterious melodies, fast rhythmic energy, lush sound, and compelling tracks.
Picks: Carpe Noctem, Wreak Havoc!, Undercurrents, Rolling Thunder, Infidel, El Flaco, Hamsa, The Saracen, SOS (Stomp On Stomp), Tangaroa, Surf Fidelis, Sahar, End Of The Circle

Track by Track Review


Carpe Noctem dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mysterious melody dramatically plays out on a dry guitar while a glorious muted reverb guitar plays a superb counter melody. It's just the two guitars, and the combination is really compelling. "Carpe Noctem" eventually brings in the bass and drums and more guitars for a lush layered sound. The Madeira have created a very dramatic and moody piece here that is hard to ignore. Superb!

Wreak Havoc! dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dribbling glissandos, fast picking, Eastern European melody sensibility, and tight thundering energy overwhelm. "Wreak Havoc!" is intense, and sparkles with the kind of energy that The Space Cossacks used to achieve. Very cool!

Undercurrents dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Undercurrents" sports a sweeping Russian-like melody that's slightly sad and yet perseverant. The warmth of the adventure carries this song off.

Rolling Thunder dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark rhythmic muted surf patterns and rumbling drums, along with galloping rhythms combine for a fast and very enthusiastic ride. "Rolling Thunder" rolls and thunders, and suggests extreme energy with lush smoothness. The drums are amazing!

Infidel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This pretty slow moving track features a lush lead and throbbing tremolo rhythm. The sound is picturesque and very artful. Lovely chords suggest islands and lagoons.

El Flaco dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Galloping rhythm and a very low lead melody create a Joe Meek-ish impression, while the melody is more sub-Mediterranean mysterious. "El Flaco" features relentless rolling drums and rhythm guitar, along with warm, long compression sustained guitar notes.

Hamsa dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very sensual blending of exotic percussion, lurid acoustic guitar lines dominate this delicate, yet lusty song. Exceptional emotional content and gypsy fire imagery. "Hamsa" is one fine track!

The Saracen dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gigantic power and energy, ska rhythm guitar, flying lead lines, rock-solid bass, and superb drums. "The Saracen" is fluid, dramatic, exotic, and played amazingly well. Wow!

SOS (Stomp On Stomp) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

My initial impression of this song was that it was likely inspired by The Atlantics, but it's also very much about European stylings. The grode e-string chokes took "SOS (Stomp On Stomp)" over the top! Great track.

Tangaroa dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tangaroa" is a lushly recorded easy number with tremolo lead and a very pretty backtrack. The melody is romantic and adventurous.

Surf Fidelis dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Oh those grand muted reverb guitar lines! Within a couple of notes, I was hooked. "Surf Fidelis" never let me down. This is a big, dramatic, optimistic, and delicately powerful track. Some of the lead lines are like drops of water, while others splash warmly.

Sahar dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Groovy chop chords and low down lead lines, a melody with lots of flair and drama, and really infectious drums, bass, and rhythm. "Sahar" is hot blooded and raucous, with warm tone and intense energy!

End Of The Circle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"End Of The Circle" moves slowly and delicately, with lush lead and gentle acoustic guitars balanced above soft bass and precision drums. The relaxed pace does not mean it's low energy. hauntingly rich and visual.