Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Mister Neutron - Nor'easterdotdotdot
artworkThis new album is all intro, thank you very much! If you had never heard Slacktone, this would be a killer release. Mister Neutron aren't going to like this, but I can't say I've heard a band sound so much like another in quite a while. One cannot listen to the first half of this CD without hearing Slacktone's arrangements, guitar playing, and song structures for the first half of the disc. For that reason, I had trouble getting enthused. The energy and fire are excellent, and the songs very good, but they are so derivative of one of surf's premier modern bands that it's hard to stay engaged, and with relatively unsympathetic production on many tracks, it ends up being a poor relation to the real thing. Sorry guys, but your first album was a lot more original and inspiring. Only "Danger: Diabolik" was Slacktone-like.
Picks: The Big Island, Tiki Barber, Adriatica, I'm A Geezer For Your Love, Hydroplaning / The Big Island, Naughty Bits

Track by Track Review

The Big Island dotdotdot
Acoustic Guitar (Instrumental)

"The Big Island" is a lushly recorded acoustic guitar number that's very folky, with a bit of drone. The melody is beautiful in its finger-picked simplicity.

Nor'easter dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mysterious middle eastern opening is bumped by a "Nitro"-like progression with lots of spiffy fast finger work. A bit punky, maybe even thrashy, yet as if folkrock was taken to the surf. Reminiscent of The Torpedoes in their heyday. Very cool.

Tahiti Throwdown dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great guitar flash that reminds me of Slacktone at times. Splashy and fiery! This is infectious and calls to the California beach. The mix has a bit too much bass, and the great drums are mostly lost in the mix.

Hornet's Nest dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a rippin' cover of a speedy Los Straitjackets song, with ample drive and guitar wizardry. Stylistically, you might imagine Slacktone covering this, but with different tone and mix.

Neutron Summer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Neutron Summer" is a gentle number with a nicely circular riff and structure. It's a friendly song with a friendly sound and feeling. A bit like Into The Blue Sparkle structure wise.

Point Pleasant dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soft and lovely, "Point Pleasant" presents a lush image of island lagoons. Pretty and emotional, like a cross between Jimi Hendrix' softer moments and Slacktone.

Stratosfear dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Stratosfear" is a rockin' number with power and flair, and great drums. This has Slacktone written all over it.

Mambo Italiano dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very tasteful rendering of Bob Merrill's "Mambo Italiano." It sports exotic bongos and silky guitar. This very Slacktone-like arrangement is engaging and punchy, and quite fun.

Vlad The Impala dotdotdot
Organ Rock (Instrumental)

"Vlad The Impala" is an organ lead number that's fun and harkens back to the days when such songs were on the b-side of many singles. Nicely done, and the bass lines are really good!

Big Sur Prize dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and sinewy, with island silky guitar lines, acoustic accompaniment, and the sadness of "Big Sur Prize," or perhaps "El Sereno" (Splashback). Beautiful.

Tiki Barber dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums ramp up this cool song. The approach is infectious, as is the playing. Great playing and feeling throughout. The hand claps add a nice bit of rhythm fluff.

Sea Girt Agent Man dotdotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

Slow moody bass, fuzz guitar, and a moody go-go edge to this nicely written melody. The organ takes the breaks while the fuzz dominates elsewhere, except when the Slacktone-ish guitar cuts in.

Hang 'Em High dotdotdot
Spaghetti Surf (Instrumental)

Interesting drums drive this twangster with whammy chords and warmth. The semi military beat in the middle adds significant interest. The arrangement fills out the song nicely. The ambient drums are over-compressed and the cymbals clipped, but otherwise, "Hang 'Em High" is engaging.

Adriatica dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mysterious guitar lines and bongos open, and then the liquid melody and guitar playing take over. This is a very satisfying track, with sensual sound and tone. "Adriatica" paints a picture of an easy afternoon in eh sun.

I'm A Geezer For Your Love dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"I'm A Geezer For Your Love" is a rock instro with a bluesy country sound and structure. very fun, and the slide notes add to the western idea. Some very nice guitar work here. There are hints of Cat Mother and the Allnight News Boys too. From the title, I expected a cover of T-Rex's "Jeepster," but alas it's not.

Hydroplaning / The Big Island dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is gorgeous! Island beauty and slither, sensual rhythm and beat, and well balanced sound. You'd have to want to dislike it! The beat is infectious, the gate friendly, and the melody open countryside friendly. Totally cool!

Naughty Bits dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

"Naughty Bits" in uncredited on the sleeve. It's an updated version of a song from their first album. it has the coolness of Chiyo and the Crescents' "Pink Dominoes," but is a blues instro with spunky fun, and punchy percussion with flashy guitar.