Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Moon-Rays - The Ghouls Go Westdotdotdotdot
artworkMost of the time, I don't really like this sort of thing, but this is so well done and so compelling that it's hard not to like. Horror/psi-fi lounge exotica with excellent sound and well developed arrangements. Too much fun! "Thrillville" is a fifties finger-snapping beat generation bit of coolness that seems right out the Maynard G. Krebs songbook. There are some very serious and wonderful pieces of music here right along with the sub-silly art. This CD is just too much fun.
Picks: Fear, Blues For Vampira, The Ghouls Go West, The Grim Creeper, Dracula Go-Go!, Little Green Men, Dark Shadows - Exotic, El Toro Gano, The Hanging Tree, La Valse Du Vampir

Track by Track Review

Fear dotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Harry Lubin's "Fear" opens with a "cheap" recording with vinyl clicks and all... Once they get into the actual track, it becomes very fluid and eerie. Perhaps the prettiest, most listenable version of this song, this is plush with liquid vibrato shimmer, and is tweakily string-bent in the middle. Both odd and compelling, pretty and mysterious.

Blues For Vampira dotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Dedicated to the vixen of the night, "Blues For Vampira" is a sultry loungy exotica song with vibes and Theremin warbles. Haunted and strange, yet soothing in a 3 AM half-awake dream kinda way. The break is a soaring reverbed-fuzzed guitar flight.

The Ghouls Go West dotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

using a rhythm patterned after the "Munsters" theme, "The Ghouls Go West" is a tweaky b-movie kind of theme with an intriguing sound. The whistling sounds and cute rhythms seem to add up to a very fun track.

The Grim Creeper dotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and moody in a Henry Mancini dockside way, "The Grim Creeper" is sultry and foggy-night shimmering. Lonely, a touch dangerous, and very suave.

Dracula Go-Go! dotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Engines rev up, the drag race starts, and one cool rhythm takes over. The horns are a bit much - sort of Vic Mizzi-like, yet they seem very appropriate for the song. Jazz monsters with a grin. The surf rhythm is a very cool touch.

Little Green Men dotdotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Cheesy Theremin warbles a la black and white b-movie sci-fi opens to big chords. But quickly enough, surfable guitar and bongos take control for a while... for a while because the bridges are all cheese, no ham. The big soaring guitar break is like Davie Allan without the extreme fuzz. This is very inventive and fun!

Dark Shadows - Exotic dotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Robert Cobert's theme to the Dark Shadows TV show gets a sultry exotic face and slushy coolness. Exotic because of the use of verses and bird calls from Martin Denny's "Quiet Village." A splendid track for a rainy interlude!

El Toro Gano dotdotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Nearly mandolin guitar lines launch into this stunning tango de toro. Very surfable, reverent of romantic Spanish songs, born of Ernesto Lecuona, sifted through surf, and then perfected some more. A splendid song with no gimmicks, no tricks, just exquisite playing, arranging, and writing.

The Hanging Tree dotdotdot
Italian Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Like an Italian western scene, the wind blows cold as the guitar comes in to play a sad slow melody. You can just see the serapes, soggy cigars, and lengths of rope at the ready. Very pretty. Then, as the body of the song comes along, the effects on the drums suggest a switch to jazz, and sure enough, the song becomes Joe Pass meets Dave Bruebeck. It ends back where it started with the slow funeral march necktie party.

La Valse Du Vampir dotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Dramatic piano rolls with classical chords and a morose melody line. As the sun sets, Nosferatu will sure rise from the coffin again. Very atmospheric and filmscore like.