Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Matching Suits - S/Tdotdotdot
artworkSlovenia's Matching Suits first issue shows a lot of promise. They are taking a bit of a different tack with surf than their countrymen, but they clearly get it. Some excellent tracks here. The production needs more work. The mix is sometime marred by overbearing rhythm guitar that buries the bass and drums, and detracts from the lead, and lead that's just not out front enough. Drums are often nearly unheard as well. All that said, I like this set and I think if you have a soft spot for vintage surf on the restrained side, this will please you.
Picks: Tough Luck, Surface, First Lesson, Beach-Head, Puscava, Happy Days, Vedrlu, University Blvd., Guns Don't Argue, Teenslasher, Pipeline, Shake-N-Stomp, Calhoun Surf, Cryin' Guitar

Track by Track Review

Tough Luck dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tough Luck" is a rhythm-centric track with a solid riff leading the way. Muted rhythm guitar and rock chords enhance the track's effectiveness.

Surface dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A heavy and chunky rhythm runs under a very cool melody line that's really quite Southern California in character. Sparkling, spunky, and infectious. "Surface" would do nicely on a summer afternoon on the freeway with the top down.

First Lesson dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"First Lesson" is a very intriguing song. Its shimmering chords, haunted lead guitar, and the island mystery image, all ride atop an able bass and drum track that provide a solid foundation. This is an optimistic track with a rich melody and lead guitar. The rhythm guitar is too dominating while playing chords, but otherwise, this really grooves!

Beach-Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Beach-Head" bounces and runs amok through a summery afternoon. It's the kind of song that has inner warmth and a sense of the open road. Quite nice.

Puscava dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Drama from the tom toms and shimmer from the guitars' tremolo open with a promise of island mystery. The song is slow and pretty, but not as interesting as the opening. The fast verse seems at odds too. The arrangement seems like three different songs joined, though it's melodically the same song.

Happy Days dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The theme from the TV show makes great fodder for a surfers' beach party. "Happy Days" brought an instant grin, and held it throughout. Great choice.

Vedrlu dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nicolas Roubanis's melody gets an interesting workout at the hands of the Matching Suits. The arrangement is more or less Dick Dale's single version of "Miserlou," yet it has a gentler sound. It's merged with "The Wedge" for a tour de force. Quite refreshing.

University Blvd. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Straitjackets's "University Blvd." is softly spilled from the guitars in a muffled and moody arrangement. Quite pleasant.

Guns Don't Argue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Enio Morricone's sad spaghetti western theme is played like it is a Mediterranean folk dance on surf guitar. This is a thoroughly cool arrangement. Spunky and very infectious.

Teenslasher dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Teenslasher" is on the dark side thematically, yet is light and playful aurally. Great muted rhythm and splashy leads. Very cool.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Three guitars provide adequate shimmer via tremolo, fine muted rhythm, and solid lead melody. These days, few bands play all three melody lines, and it's quite refreshing to hear someone do it the way it was written. It's also a fairly quiet approach to this venerable Chantays classic. Quite nice.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's dark riff rocker is delivered in a somewhat refrained fashion. The muted rhythm is superb.

Calhoun Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Overtones's "Calhoun Surf" has an odd sound via a very strange drum kit sound. Aside from the sound, the drums are great and the guitars and bass do right by it.

Cryin' Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Lively Ones' sad and moody "Surfers Lament" sparkles on lead and rolls on rhythm, with a softish arrangement that's very emotional and engaging.