Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The Nep-Tunes - Surfer's Holiday
|This is an odd LP. The band's locale is undisclosed, but the sound hints of the east coast probably. The times they were a-changin' and so surf titles were employed, and in many cases, some reverb and other elements of surf. While it's easy to label surf flippantly, or dismiss as non-surf for that matter, there are some interesting and puzzling sounds here. Influences seem to range from the Royaltones to the early Belairs (though they likely never heard them). Curious, but miles from essential. |
The Nep-Tunes were Al Torzelli - lead guitar, Rich Schweitzer - bass, Steve Marcus - sax, and Eddie Hawkins - drums.
Picks: Pyramid, Breakwater, Blue Planet, Odd Ball, Havah Nagilah, Last Tide, Surfers Holiday, Coral Beach
Track by Track Review
Near Surf (Instrumental)
"Pyramid" (listed as "Pyramid Climb" on the sleeve) is a light weight instro with a dry damped rhythm and thin lead, and a cool sax break over a lesser "Flamingo Express" (Royaltones) rhythm. Mostly, it's like a cross between surf and that which came before. Actually called "Pyramid."
Cockles and Muscles In The Surf
A long squonky sax drives this southern theme. Virtually surf free, yet the influence subtly runs under the track in some ways.
This is a pretty unusual surf instro, with a simple riff that's not like most surf tunes, yet works well in the genre. The sax break is surfable, and the picked bass really nice. Infectious and simple, "Breakwater" is a really nice find.
Vibrato guitar shimmers in a moody after dark way, with a sense of the Euro instro and the surf too. The nasty sax adds a dimension of edge to the mix. Well now, does this title seem a few decades outta place or what?
A gentle damped surf rhythm chunks under a fifties sax and surf guitar kinda riff rocker. While quite subdued, "Odd Ball" (titled "Odd Ball Surf" here) has a kinda cool simplicity to it.
It's quite interesting to hear a period band do "Havah Nagilah" without mimicking Dick Dale's arrangement. A fifties kinda rhythm and single note lead, plus raw sax verses in two registers gives it varied textures and a kind of innocence.
The lead guitar here is a little moody due to very shallow vibrato and low-E dominance. The sax wails in a distant honk above soft bass and drums. Pretty interesting, and pretty darn firmly in the fifties.
Like an attempt to merge a really young Belairs and a softened Centurions, "Surfers Holiday" sports surf rhythms and a surfable melody line played fairly dry. It's not a Christmas tune, but rather a vacation adventure.
With a rhythm fit for "Hava Nagila," this honks with a sax lead like a fifties B-side instro. Just so-so.
As if influenced by Ed Byrnes' "Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)," this sports a Hollywood rhythm and meaningless jam riff line.
"Crest Riders" is fairly surfable, though structured like a fifties instro. The sax break is very noodly, and the guitar riff doesn't really develop despite the low-E groove.
This is a sax version of the Dovells' "Bristol Stomp." Probably fine for a sock hop, but not very interesting.
Faux Oriental leanings emanate from the "Chop Sticks" riff played out on piano. The sax break noodles, but does not add to the track. Simple and kinda cute.
The shimmer of vibrato carries off this pretty interpretation of a standard I can't quite place. Very listenable and kinda wispy.