Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Manatees - The Manatee's Waildotdotdotdot
artworkSeattle's uniquely warped Manatees came into KFJC's infamous Pit on the 15th of September, 2001 after driving all the way down just to play at our remote fundraising event at Streetlight Records in San Jose. In store, they were fun and well appreciated by customers and employees alike. It was a rough gig for them, because their rhythm guitarist bailed at the last minute for reasons unspoken, so they played for the first time as a trio. In studio, they got over the shortage of the second guitar and delivered some really cool surf-n-lounge wail. I was gong to use their cassette only version of "Latin Soul" for Gnarly Reef, our new fundraiser CD, but once they played it in the Pit, I risked all and remastered the disk with the live version. This was a fun night at the Wave of the West!
Picks: Mr. Manatee, Latin Soul, Blow Hole, The Model, Uncredited, Mr. Rebel, Kon Tiki, Our Man Flint, Oh Daddy, The Wedge, The Savage, Instant Curry

Track by Track Review

Mr. Manatee dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is very similar Brian Lord and the Midnighters' "Not Another One." Warpy string bending weirdness, like Henry Mancini on the wrong bus, or maybe the Reventlos less their metal tendencies. There's a definite dementia to the lead guitar. The melody is mysterious and very effective. Uncomfortable string bending and a catchy melody line over excellent drums make this is an excellent track.

Latin Soul dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Neither the Original Surfaris nor the Sentinals had any idea where the Manatees were going to take this. Demented string bending, major crunch, warbly theremin, and excellent full bodied drums. The arrangement is very powerful. The whammy gives it a swimming pool feel, and the theremin in the break creates an interesting sidebar to this powerful infectious track. If you didn't think you could be unbalanced by music, you haven't heard this!

Blow Hole dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This brand new tune is dripping surf reverb and a playful melody line, with driving drums and glissando duet thunder from the guitar and bass. The delicately damped and reverb plucked middle verse is ultra water drop cool! Very infectious and adventurous. The Manatees are one of those bands that can't lift an instrument without a grin.

The Model dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There are several surf instro version of Kraftwerk's "Das Model" out there. None except for Die Space Hobos plays with it more. The guitar is heavily effected into a stereo swirl. In a live setting, this tweaky arrangement are mighty infectious. Grins required.

Uncredited dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very cool drum beat opens a theremin driven daydream nightmare of rhythm and visual distortion where invasionary sirens of doom laugh alongside thunder and surf. Crunch and munch, surf for listening while in restraints.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's "Mr. Rebel" is reverently leaked from the minds of Manatees, with more aquatic credentials than a heard of sea horses at an aquarium. It speeds up with every verse, ending in a flurry of reverb surf chords.

Kon Tiki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty smooth traditional arrangement of the Shadows' "Kon Tiki." No theremin to disrupt the tea and crumpets, just a kind nod to Hank Marvin.

Our Man Flint dotdotdotdot
Spy (Instrumental)

The Manatees reverb out the idea of cheesy spy flick themes. With ringing guitar and a thumping bass with precision drums, this takes on a simple sound that is injected with sweeping theremin desire. Amazing!

Oh Daddy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Oh Daddy" is a thundering rhythm and surf excursion into primal territory. Basic riffology with groovy tone and mean aquatic strength.

The Wedge dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale' classic "The Wedge" is delivered with good surf intent and dribbling double picking. The drums are very strong, and the whammin' vibrato from the Leslie is an interesting touch.

The Savage dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums open the Shadows' "The Savage" and Hank Marvin tones keep in reverent. Nicely played, and very much in the Euro groove. It's not often that the English sound hits the surf spot so well. Amazingly enduring and enjoyable track!

Instant Curry dotdotdotdot
Space Disaster Surf (Instrumental)

"Instant Curry" has a deserted ally feel, a bit of the brine, and a relentless progression punctuated by stinging whammy. The simplicity seems to work in it's favor. After a couple of leisurely verses, the theremin kicks in and the band kicks off. The sound is smoother than Planet Seven, but no less interesting with disparate tones and swirls.