Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Mercury Four - Endless Beachdotdotdot
artworkThis is a frustrating release in some ways. the second half is pretty strong, often displaying good ideas and excellent playing, while the first half is not well recorded and more repetitious. I've not seen Mercury Four live, but I'll bet they have a lot of potential.
Picks: Quit Hoggin The Airlock, Enigma Twist, Skaterdater, Stroked amp Bored, Kennewick Man, Endless Beach, Rattle Can Black, Werewolves On Wheels, Zeta Reticuli, You Are Go For Throttle Up, No Response From Mars, Zombies From Outer Space

Track by Track Review


Quit Hoggin The Airlock dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

This is a dark and dangerous track with a kind of bleak back ally tribalism - maybe like a cross between Man or Astro-MAN and an intense space-surf espionage experience. "Quit Hoggin The Airlock" is interesting, rather emotional, but not necessarily durable.

Enigma Twist dotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Minor jazzy loungy with a nice melody. "Enigma Twist" is melodically interesting and sad in a spy kind of way, but the melody seems at odds with the poorly recorded drums.

Skaterdater dotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

This is an extremely tepid recording of Davie Allan and the Arrows' essential theme to "Skaterdater." The poorly ambient drums just leave you flat, and the arrangement removes all the sparkle, replacing it with a very pedestrian light rock sound. Mistitled on the sleeve as "Skater Dater," the song has a one word title in reality.

Stroked amp Bored dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Thrashy chords, whistling organ, and exuberant drums. "Stroked amp Bored" ends up more interesting than it starts out by growing on you some, but the melody is pretty minimal and forgettable.

Kennewick Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kennewick Man" is a more purely surf track than the rest of the content here. It's also much mixed and arranged. There's some sophistication and drama, and some very nice guitar work. Flying glissandos and double picked lines complete the picture.

Endless Beach dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Pretty traditional surf guitar overwhelmed by organ that seems only to distract. Placing the lead in the center and doing something less intrusive with the organ would surely help this track, but so would a better arrangement and drums less ambient.

Rattle Can Black dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Distant and moody, "Rattle Can Black" has the potential to be as effective as the Penetrators' "Deception Bay" with more work and much better production. As is, it's pleasant and distant, a little moody, and unmemorable.

Werewolves On Wheels dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very cool track with splendid guitars and rhythm, lots of spunk and an attractive arrangement. Perhaps my favorite here, "Werewolves On Wheels" seems much more developed than everything else here, and certainly has a much stronger sense of surf attraction. Great track!

Zeta Reticuli dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Goofy keys and effects with liquid cool surf guitar. The contrast conjures an image of surf at a roadside carnival. Slightly disturbed.

You Are Go For Throttle Up dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

A repetitious riff drives "You Are Go For Throttle Up" all the way. Aside from the organ coming in, this is pretty much unchanging. Just changing register from verse to verse would help. The break is very cool.

No Response From Mars dotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Imagine surfing the nut house... maybe that's the idea. "No Response From Mars" is disturbing and yet compelling. Tuff glissandos and a heavy attack combine with the uneasy arrangement to create a very effective if difficult surf instro.

Zombies From Outer Space dotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

Whirly twirly keys open this strong spy-surf instro. Italian in nature, and full of forward motion and strong drums and power. Nice track.