Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dom Mariani and the Majestic Kelp - Underwater Casinodotdotdot
artworkOften atmospheric and moody, the music on this disc is fresh and lush, with a reliance of drama and cautious optimism. These songs are not surf per say, but are "instrumental rock, taking in the influences from surf and the blues, as well as pop, garage, Italian soundtracks and lounge," with vibrato and liquid shimmer. Dom Mariani and the Majestic Kelp are from Perth, Australia. The lineup is Dom Mariani - guitar, Robbie Scorer - drums, Stuart Loasby - bass, Brian Retter - keys, and Brian Ridge - percussion.
Picks: Roulette, The Golden Ones, Tremeloe Sun, Lisa Marie, Tijuana Dreamin, Indian N' Ocean, Underwater Casino, Sergio Leone, Cherry Red, Let It Hang, One More Spin, Starline, Oriana

Track by Track Review

Roulette dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Intense whammy, glissandoes, big twang... "Roulette" is adjacent to the surf idiom in the same way the Austin sound is. The angularity of the whammy is quite attractive. It's a fresh sound.

The Golden Ones dotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Dom Mariani's voice provides a chorus-like add-on in this slow song. "The Golden Ones" is kinda pretty, but didn't hold my attention very well.

Tremeloe Sun dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato and intriguing chords rung out like ripples on water eventually bring forth a haunting and moody song with an attractive sound. "Tremeloe Sun" provides a sense of danger and inevitability.

Lisa Marie dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Lisa Marie" is a pretty song with edge and a bit of danger. While it's more blues than surf, it's also aquatic and spooky. A pleasant adventure.

Tijuana Dreamin dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A little tropical with the sense of a fiesta, "Tijuana Dreamin" is a bouncy and slightly angular party South of the border. Cautious fun drips from the percussion. It's a little reminiscent of eighties LA band the Wedge.

Indian N' Ocean dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Indian N' Ocean" is a slow moving progression through vibrato shimmer and blues, with drama and pomp.

Underwater Casino dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The title track sports some very nice drum work under the haunting and moody guitar lines. Like a long slow walk on an abandoned dock, "Underwater Casino" projects liquid pathos. Pretty and interesting.

Sergio Leone dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A European style melody rings out from the lead guitar, which is vibratoed and played slow and precise. "Sergio Leone" is a very pleasant song.

Cherry Red dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Big drama and chop rhythms, along with rock guitaristry, run under this sorta Nashville song. Great drums and a catchy riff. Thick and ponderous, yet sort of flippant.

Let It Hang dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The extra percussion adds a lot to this slightly detective sounding song. Whammy and vibrato shimmer, and mystery. Among the more attractive songs on the disc, "Let It Hang" has a classic feel - not in the surf sense - in the Earl Hagen sense. Fine track.

One More Spin dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A grodie glissando ends in intense whammy before this Austin edged track flows on through. The whammy is grand, and is used amply in this short (under one minute) track.

Starline dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Starline" is a soft track that opens with the sea lapping at the shore. Perhaps the most surfable song here, it's an open coastline drive on a warm afternoon kinda song. Cautious, yet celebrative, it's an honest and human song.

Oriana dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Closing out the CD is a slow vibrato song that's moody and islandic, with tribal drums and rich tones. The shimmer and tropical pictures are perfect.