Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Nightrunners - S/Tdotdotdot
artworkThis is the CD reissue of the Nightrunners LP from a decade ago, with extra tracks. Their music is mostly in the Shadows vein, but there are a few very surfable instros along with a couple of refined surf covers, particularly three of the bonus tracks. A very nice release.
Picks: Katjusha, Idylle, Banzai, Black Magic, Peace Pipe, Skogsblomman, The Ripper, Penetration, Igelkottaskinnet, Moonlight Walk, Pipeline, My Resistance Is Low, Dakota, Min Soldat, Barndomshemmet, Moment Of Truth, Theme From The Saunters, Sarie Marijs, Church Key, Ano Hito, Escape, Theme From Joe Dakota, Lady Of Spain, Cape Kennedy, Journey To The Stars

Track by Track Review


Katjusha dotdotdot
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)

"Katjusha" features a damped lead on some verses, and a more surfable lead line than the Hank Marvin guitar sound usually delivers. Bouncy and affirmative.

Idylle dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Echoed guitar delivers a very Euro melody riff over a soft rock backtrack. Not particularly interesting, though you could draw similarities between "Idylle" and some String-a-longs tracks.

Banzai dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Not a hint of surf here as the Nightrunners do a very Shadowsy instro. Echoed guitar and soft rock backing.

Black Magic dotdotdot
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)

Acoustic guitar backs this damped echoed guitar track. Playful and bouncy, and squarely in the UK mold. The infectious lead is quite fun, and "Black Magic" is a very satisfying track.

Peace Pipe dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' "Peace Pipe" is softly and reverently done. Nothing special or personalized about this cover.

Skogsblomman dotdotdot
Surfable MOR Rock (Instrumental)

"Skogsblomman" is a slowish sad gypsy kinda tune with a prom-stroll backtrack. While pretty and scenic, it's also a little on the MOR side. Still, it's quite nice.

The Ripper dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big Shadows echo twang and a bumpin' backbeat. Tastefully done, but not very energetic.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Delicate and rhythmic, and played with a refined restraint, the Pyramids' classic "Penetration" has seldom been done with less energy. OK, but it's also quite enjoyable in this more subdued arrangement.

Igelkottaskinnet dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

An acoustic guitar backs the echoed lead on this tune. The melody is a little on the folksy side, bouncy and flippant.

Moonlight Walk dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

"Moonlight Walk" is slow and damped, and twangy. Echoed guitar plays a friendly if flyweight melody line over a delicate backtrack. Verges on MOR.

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chantays' definitive "Pipeline" is very dryly effected, like a cross between the Shadows and waves. Soft and refined, yet quite nice, like a warm afternoon version of the original. The arrangement is pretty darn close to the source less the piano. Quite nice.

My Resistance Is Low dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Plucky Euro playfulness abounds in this MOR track. Fun, but completely unremarkable.

Dakota dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' "Dakota" is reverently covered, with charm, but not a lot of originality. Very smooth, just not particularly catchy.

Min Soldat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Damped echoed pluckola and warm Hank Marvinisms slush out a liquid moonlit evening scene. Quite pretty, and light weight.

Barndomshemmet dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a melodic track with a Shadowsy feel and light romanticism. The infectious rhythm track keeps it from becoming just another guitar instro.

Moment Of Truth dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nightrunners rely on their tight rhythm sense to transmute "Moment Of Truth" into a lighter song than the Original Surfaris' genesis. It works surprisingly well in this arrangement, with whammy chords and an almost island sense. Quite cool.

Theme From The Saunters dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A slushy Euro guitar instro with a prom feel and romantic idealism. Pretty, but unremarkable.

Sarie Marijs dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This has a fluffy fifties "Feel So Good" intro and an even lighter Southern melody line. While it's definitely on the lighter side of the aisle, it's also entertaining and bears multiple listenings. A bit of a country feel, lacking only twang to sound like it's from Memphis.

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damped reverb, hinting of a delicate inversion of the way the Trashmen took the Revels' great single into surf territory. Great surf sound and groovy restrained delivery make this a unique experience.

Ano Hito dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is one soft and lush Euro guitar melody, poured out like an aphrodisiac for the romantics among us. Quite pretty.

Escape dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Escape" is a groovy rocker with a surf melody riff and glissandos. It's not tuff, but rather is delivered with a powerfully restrained performance. It's always amazing to me how much hook can come from surf instros when not full steam powered. Excellent track.

Theme From Joe Dakota dotdotdot
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)

This is a semi-soft number with a delicate sound and mid-energy lilt. The pretty melody is more than MOR, yet below the rock barrier. While very enjoyable, it didn't quite grab me, though it certainly pleased the ear.

Lady Of Spain dotdotdot
Soft Rock (Instrumental)

While you can imagine a very surfable arrangement of this venerable pop tune, this isn't it. In the general vicinity of the Shadows, it's enjoyable and smooth, but not terribly memorable.

Cape Kennedy dotdotdot
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)

The Spotnicks' "Cape Kennedy" is a solid vehicle for this band. They take a kind of Ventures/Challengers approach that serves the melody well. Very nice track.

Journey To The Stars dotdotdot
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)

The Ventures' space surf cruncher "Journey To The Stars" is nicely restrained for a precise and delicate interpretation of the song. Where most go for the throat, the Nightrunners have held back, allowing the song's inherent power do the work. Very nice.