Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Moon-Rays - Thrills and Chillsdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's not often that a release's own propaganda is either accurate or adequate enough to describe the sounds within a disc, but that's just what has happened here. So, instead of creating another way of saying the same thing, let me just quite from the rear tray card: "Surfing, monsters and spies... If they ever decide to remake any of the old Frankie and Annette beach movies, throw in The Creature From The Black lagoon and spy girl Stephanie Powers to fight him off you'd have the groundwork for a Moon-Rays soundtrack. Spy-Fi music, not a true genre, but close enough." They did leave out one thing - fun! This is a completely original merger of a number of styles that is simply great listening for a tweaky mood.
Picks: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, A Shot In The Dark, Hypnotique / Our Man Flint, Beat Girl, The Bat, Shockwave, Twang, Banzai Pipeline, Lament For A Trapped Spy, Run Spy, Run, Experiment In Terror

Track by Track Review

1313 Mockingbird Lane dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Warbly tweaky stereo fun based on the address from which those Munsters ruled. Squonky sax, modulated guitar, TV theme extraction backtrack... what a kinky fun track. More than just cute, "1313 Mockingbird Lane" captures the spirit of the TV show while being thoroughly modern. Lounge for a four-martini hangover.

A Shot In The Dark dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Rambling at the same pace as the original, and presenting similar cool, the Moon-Rays play with the loungy slushiness of the song with stereo panning keys and honky sax. It's rather fun.

Hypnotique / Our Man Flint dotdotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Martin Denny's lush "Hypnotique" flows from the jungle like a Quaalude vacation. Slow and shimmering, with a spooky sense of space and exotica. A beautiful interpretation of a great song. "Our Man Flint" is a bit faster and dependent on surf guitar and vibrato. Paired up, these two similar melodies seem like one song. The loungy tweakiness and the throb of the vibrato, couple with the drama of the big drums as the song fades out... well, it's all that a man can handle.

Beat Girl dotdotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

John Barry's "Beat Girl" is slushed out, and the arrangement seems so natural for the song that you wonder if it wasn't written to sound this way. Very cool. In pace of Barry's big twang guitar is a deep throated surf guitar. A brilliant track!

The Bat dotdotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

A bit of throb, some siren-like howling, guitar much richer than the Ventures' arrangement, and an almost psychedelic guitar break, add up to a genuinely original track that has credibility where others have only achieved cuteness. Very cool!

Shockwave dotdotdotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Surf rhythm guitar and lush keys in an original track that's hints of the Eliminators, the Torquays, Pollo Del Mar, Melenhead, Johnny Legend, the Hydrotones, and several others. "Shockwave" is a wholly original song with an infectious gate and plenty of spunk!

Twang dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

A bit of the fifties soul feel, exotic bongos, a kind of Ray Beats arrangement, some fine reverb guitar, and a touch of the Rhythm Kings. With all those styles intermingled, you get an original yet familiar sound that's fun and friendly. Mid tempo suave with great sax work. "Twang" is recorded live.

Banzai Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's suave "Banzai Pipeline" has been recorded by at least a dozen surfbands, each arranging it differently, yet retaining reverence for the original intent. The Moon-Rays bring another perspective to it, a perhaps smoother sound. A fine track!

Lament For A Trapped Spy dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Vibrato shimmered vibes whisper exotica, piano rings lounge, and the keys provide a haunting spy feel. It ends up being the bass and drums that politely create the underlying moodiness. Very cool.

Run Spy, Run dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Implying the "Man From U.N.C.L.E.," with saucy sax and martini glass keys, "Run Spy, Run" is lush and fun.

Experiment In Terror dotdotdot
Post Surf Lounge (Instrumental)

Another commonly covered film score finds an entirely original arrangement at the hands of the Moon-Rays. The spooky sound is of "Experiment In Terror" is "iced over with a creepy poem originally read by then (early seventies) Chicago Newsman Marty McNeely" by a delay echoed whisper. Amazingly cool and so ripe for Halloween.