Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Mulchmen - Greetings From Planet Stupiderdotdotdot
artworkLike their last album, it took a few listens to get into, but once there, I loved it. More great writing, and more fun. Under the rock structures is lurking sophistication and charm. Some very good writing, some interesting arranging, and some solid listening. More rock than surf, but certainly within the broad scope of the genre. The drums are ambient, almost cardboard sounding at times, detracting from an otherwise solid CD.
Picks: Delta Velocity, Backscratcher, Spank The Lightning, The Stalker, Go-Go Boot Camp, Pocketful Of Pennies, YEK-259, Lowdown, Automatic Egypt, Tiddytwister, Demanding The Impossible, Shadow Walk, Ripchord, Dr. Cyclops / Danger Todd Robinson

Track by Track Review

Delta Velocity dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This begins with a whirring air raid danger courtesy a theremin. It moves into a dark brooding melody that plunders as it rumbles by. Solid ominous evil.

Backscratcher dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Thick progression, like a minor Link Wray thing. The rhythm is suave, and the melody is fun. There are more than subtle hints of the Fillmore era, like a cross between the Flamin' Groovies and Osceola. Lumbering.

Spank The Lightning dotdotdot
Sci-Fi Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is an "Out Of Limits" kinda thing, more edgie and intense than that, but in that mold. A dangerous riff, and a sense of waiting for the aliens at Area 51.

The Stalker dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is a solid surf number, with a fine double picked lead. It's not structured like trad, but it makes the grade. A progression lead, a bunch of drama in the breaks, and watery imagery. Nice track.

Go-Go Boot Camp dotdotdotdot
Super Hero Surf (Instrumental)

The title would hint of the go-go sounds of the sixties, but that is nowhere to be found, except in the melody line, with is sorta super hero picnic like. This is an unusual tune that I found myself drawn to as I listened. It snuck up on me. Dramatic and rhythmic.

Pocketful Of Pennies dotdotdotdot
Prog Surf (Instrumental)

This is a great track. It has a sense of connection about it. The melody is sophisticated and warm. The playing is well phrased. It reminds me of some of the German prog rock of the seventies, like maybe Epitaph. A very nice track.

YEK-259 dotdotdotdot
License Plate Rock (Instrumental)

I'm guessing that "YEK-259" is a license plate number. This is a minimal slightly surfy number, with a nifty melody and a quirky kinda structure. Quite cool.

Lowdown dotdotdot
Plucky Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This reminds me a bit of the Ultras, though the sound is certainly not Vanilla Sludge. Thick and grindy, plucky and almost silly.

Automatic Egypt dotdotdot
Detective Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Funky automatons on the Nile, in title only. I don't think there's much here middle eastern, but that aside, this is a pretty nifty number. Many changes, and many cool dramatic arrangement bits. Like a detective story without a trench coat, this cries out for a flickering streetlight, the scent of recently chewed Juicy Fruit®, and a Fedora®.

Tiddytwister dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is a playful little number, probably infectious with the dancing crowd. Nicely played, rhythmic, and suave.

Demanding The Impossible dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Demanding The Impossible" sneaks up on you. At first I thought "what do I say about this?" Then, I found myself liking the writing a lot. It is the ambient drums that bother me. Otherwise, this is a really good and very rhythmic track, with a friendly melody and an infectious arrangement.

Shadow Walk dotdotdotdot
Latvian Surf Ballad (Instrumental)

This is a very slow and pretty number, sad and moody, but not dark. The sticker on the shrink wrap refers to this as a "Latvian surf ballad." It does have an eastern European feel to it, but the melody seems more fifties Hollywood to me. It's quite a pleasant track.

Ripchord dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Solid riff rockin' chord grind. Too repetitious for my taste. The break is cool, and the darkness of it is powerful once past the main theme.

Dr. Cyclops / Danger Todd Robinson dotdotdot
Sci-Fi Rock (Instrumental)

Warning! Warning! Robot's approaching! Tonally like the Kinks sorta for the "Dr. Cyclops" half of the track, and frankly, I was ready to dismiss it. The "Danger Todd Robinson" half is more brooding and moody, more melodic and interesting.