Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Moon-Rays - Sinister Surfdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Moon-Rays have done a marvelous job with this disc. Imagine resuscitating frat rock with style and talent, blending in fifties motifs and a surf edge. Lots of dry humor and talent. A very cool release! The two vocals here are "Sophomore Werewolf In Love" and "The Raven (For Beatniks)," both of which brought grins.
Picks: Sinister Surf, Spookwalk, Drag Fink, Hare Um Scare Um, Hearse With A Curse, The Devil In Nylons, Mysterion, Night Of The Rodent, The Raven (For Beatniks), Deep Into Midnight, Sophomore Werewolf In Love, Night Of The Day Of The Dead

Track by Track Review


Sinister Surf dotdotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A great glissando launches "Sinister Surf," a song with a slightly unexpected line end. It's a bit mysterious, and sports bongos and a long fuzz slide that pans across the room. There's phase shifting and nasty sax to! Big drama and surf danger. Very cool!

Spookwalk dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

This track runs amok between surf and spy jazz where whirling organs fit neatly. The psycho throb mix adds to the weirdness. Nifty track.

Drag Fink dotdotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums and exotic bongos underpin a grodie second guitar line and an almost Middle Eastern lead line. "Drag Fink" is a very nice track, with an air of mystery and adventure.

Hare Um Scare Um dotdotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

The keys to the Leslie thing in stereo before the rompin' guitar lines come in. This is a very simple progression piece, as many vintage tracks are, with a tremolo lead playing over the top. The sound of the track is like a European vacation and surf mixed. Great drums and a saucy sax break. The rhythm is quite infectious.

Hearse With A Curse dotdotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A chanted "there ain't nothin' worse than a hearse with a curse..." gives you an anticipation of a goofy instro, but it's a bit more than that. Oh sure, there are dry grins all 'round, but the quirkiness of the song is friendly and warm, and it recalls those days of black and white horror films. Very fun!

The Devil In Nylons dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

"The Devil In Nylons" romps like a frat band club mixer, with sax lead and a jumpin' rhythm. Very nicely done!

Mysterion dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Slow tremolo shimmered guitar, howling dampness embodied in feedback, and images of dark chambers. Thus the intro sets the stage for a finger poppin' spooker with a groovy low melody line. "Mysterion" is stylistically on loan from a distant past, but it's also very original.

Night Of The Rodent dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

A surf beat runs beneath a sax'n'roll cruiser. This is a fun track with a vintage face on it. Fun and almost scary, without a bit of worry.

The Raven (For Beatniks) dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Vocal)

Vibes and drums and a beat poet reading of a variant of The Raven. Imagine a fifties beat poet trying really hard to be cool. Just too much fun.

Deep Into Midnight dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Cymbals roll and gentle drama unfolds from the piano and bass as "Deep Into Midnight" rolls out. Moody and mysterious, a touch pompous, and seriously dripping late night sadness and angst.

Sophomore Werewolf In Love dotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Vocal)

A doo-wop werewolf sings of love and romance while the lads howl. This is just too fun, like the Amboy Dukes' cover of "I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent" (Little Anthony & the Imperials) from Migration. It's so high school!

Night Of The Day Of The Dead dotdotdotdotdot
Monster Frat Surf (Instrumental)

Exotic mystery and serious drama, with danger lurking in all corners. The song's melody is sweeping like a spaghetti western, but is not in that genre at all. Very cool track! This reminds me slightly of the Amboy Dukes' "Scottish Tea" is its structure and imagery, but not in its sound.