Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Mermen - The Amazing California Health And Happiness Road Showdotdotdotdotdot
artworkWell well well! Set any fears you might have about the new Mermen lineup aside. This release is pure Jim Thomas brilliance, melodic, dramatic, and more adventurous in some ways. Stunning production, excellent writing, and flawless delivery. The power of image invoking tone is in evidence everywhere. This CD serves well in focused front-and-center listening, highway one road trip enhancement, and backdrop surround. Beautiful, serene, powerful, demanding, and utterly enthralling. Not just recommended, a must-have!
Picks: Bare White, Unto The Resplendent, White Trash Raga, Merry-Go-Round, Miki's Lush Beehive, Sway, Walking The Peach, Emmylou Rides Clarence West And Then South, To Be Naked And French Is Always Hard, Little Stinky Kitty, Sponge Cookie, Heart Beatitude, Burn Intro, Burn

Track by Track Review

Bare White dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bare White" is moderately paced, slightly funky, reggae feeling, and almost sounds like it is inspired by Wes Montgomery. Quite interesting and adventurous. Squaw Valley 7-10-99

Unto The Resplendent dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A military beat lies beneath a nearly Scottish opening before moving into a sweet and melodic vibrato lead. Slow and sultry, beautifully phrased, and islandic in its imagery. Palms gently swaying in a warm fall breeze an hour or so before sunset... all you need is a masseuse to make it perfect.

White Trash Raga dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This new song is a magnificent piece of writing, blending an Indian raga and a percussive Jim Thomas structure in a richly mysterious soup of sounds and percussion. This fascinating piece would be a great vehicle for a guest performance from Santa Cruz sitar virtuoso Ashwin Batish... The mere though brings a gush of drool.

Merry-Go-Round dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Innocent happiness floats among the notes of this beautiful track, with a liquid drifting sojourn through ether. A lush and light summer afternoon reflection of times gone by.

Miki's Lush Beehive dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a hard driving surf number in the mold of a less angular "My Black Bag." Slightly Polynesian, this post modern piece sports excellent double picking and low-E power.

Sway dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Simply beautiful and dramatic, with tribal drums and floating flights of fancy with a gently pulsing sense of adventure and a wisdom earned in hindsight after struggles hard won. Very emotional and quietly triumphant.

Walking The Peach dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Walking The Peach" is a new piece from the new release. It's all rhythmic meandering through a minefield of tonal surprises and juxtaposed feedback. Angular yet fluid, with a delightful rhythm. The backward guitar parts hearken to more psychedelic days, and the drama of the production is spectacular.

Emmylou Rides Clarence West And Then South dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In a complete left turn of Mermen Highway, "Emmylou Rides Clarence West And Then South" rides high on a cactus rhythm with an infectious beat and remarkably fun picking. Totally cool, stretched out western adventure... gives new meaning to "cow-abunga!"

To Be Naked And French Is Always Hard dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This very pretty song gives hope to the future of serious and melodic music that is neither pretentious nor boring. Jim's ability to hook your heart while salving your cerebrum is unsurpassed in modern music. It is a slow-to-mid tempo number with a flowing melody line and nice changes in both character and effects.

Little Stinky Kitty dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yikes... a fast furious discordant assault on the evening air of East Nowhere, Arizona... thick, effected, intense, powerful, and laid squarely atop great drums. Very cool cowboy soaked angularity and alien drenched bifocal visionary adventure.

Sponge Cookie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This newer song has the feel of mid-nineties Mermen, yet the flow of the newer pieces. Very intriguing with a nearly discordant sound. Like fingernails on the blackboard, it's compelling and instantly grating in places, but also delicate and artfully textured.

Heart Beatitude dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heartbeat thunder, melodic clarity, pristine gentility, an emotional migration, and profound beauty. Quite lush.

Burn Intro dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the disturbed intro to the last track... just Jim's guitar sampled and messed with, and played through a keyboard, eventually enhanced with bass and drums... a very eerie throbbing piece of music.

Burn dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mystical and flowing, like a gauze view of the Ganges on a sparkling afternoon. A hypnotic drone, a squirrely mix of textures and sounds, all sampled from Jim's guitar and played through a keyboard. Slowly evolving into a moody guitar melody of picturesque tones and structure. This too would be a splendid vehicle to jam with Ashwin Batish.