Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Nitros - The Fuel Injected Sound Of...dotdotdot
artworkThis is a nice package. The Nitros' sound is pretty crispy, the balance between lead and rhythm is really nice, and while this contains mostly covers, for the most part, they are generally overlooked tracks, so the "just another cover" argument doesn't apply, and because their sound is not quite trad, but somewhere between the Ventures, the Overtones, and trad surf, the songs take on new life. The Nitros are from Spain, which has been mostly devoid of surf instro bands up to now (with the exception of the Pacifics and Da Surf Ones). The trio is Carlos del Amo - guitars, Ramon Trabas - bass, Oscar Cabada - drums, with additional guest appearances from Mike Sobieski - guitar, and Jose "Taco" - Vox Continental.
Picks: Bird Walk, Happy Geetars (Happy Guitars), Clemencia, Street Or Strip, Hurricane, Roller Derby, Nitrogeno, Bay Of Pigs, Ski Storm, Baker' Dozen, El Ringo, Hotdoggin', Mystery track

Track by Track Review


Bird Walk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bird Walk a.k.a. Surf Bird was originally laid down within the Creed Taylor organization by Kai Winding and guitarist Kenny Burrell on their cheesy More (the theme to Mondo Cane) album. Played properly, this is a great tune, and that is precisely what has happened here. The Nitros have surfed it out properly, and foregone the trashy electro effects. Lots of energy, and great spirited glissandoes.

Happy Geetars (Happy Guitars) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Thom Starr & the Galaxies tune is most familiar from the Challengers sessions. It's faster here, and more infectious, with an amply modernized Paul Johnson swirly guitar sound. Solid and fun.

Clemencia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an original tune, swimming in Spanish whammy, like Pintor with lake wake rippling at it's toes. Melodic, pretty, and very enjoyable. The imagery is quite strong, Castilian pictures of bulls and black lace, and sangria all around. Really nice, with ringing tones from the guitars.

Street Or Strip dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another original for the Nitros, this is fast and furious, sorta Mission Impossible-ish, with swank reverb. Chunky, thumpy, and shredding double picked leads in the break a la the Dickster.

Hurricane dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This original is from the pen of guest guitarist Mike Sobieski. The style is quite Euro-instro, like a surfified Shadows. A melodic, twangy, and very enjoyable mid tempo number.

Roller Derby dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Paul Johnson-Jim Boyle tune was also among the Challengers album cuts (and the Good Guys). The Nitros have tamed it a bit, lessening the swirl, enhancing the reverb, and increasing the twango. Nice track.

Nitrogeno dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fast and pummellicious instro that reminds me of 409 melodically. The guitars are lock-syncked with the drums in a cool rolling cadence, with a restrained but effective energy. Really nice arrangement. Tribal toms, chunky delivery, and too much fun. The feet, they just keep a-moving.

Bay Of Pigs dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Billy Childish tune, churned out with ample grodie guitar tone. Mostly a progression, but interesting enough to hold your attention. Ample energy.

Ski Storm dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Snow Men (a.k.a. The Sunrays) cut this as a single on Challenge a millennia ago. The Nitros have cleaned it up, and given it more power. I've always liked the original, and it's nice to see that it can be really pumped out. fast, precise, tribal, and very infectious.

Baker' Dozen dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Mickey Baker tune, slurried out with a grodie fifties instro sound. Progression driven, and frat energized.

El Ringo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' classic, reinvented with respect and delicate interplay. Energetic without losing the guitar magic of the melody or the lead-rhythm balance. Ringing, yet edgie.

Hotdoggin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

When the Lively Ones did this, they titled it Hotdoggen. They made it ring and roll. The Nitros keep the ringing tone, but add chunk. Clean, and very reverent.

Mystery track dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This country classic has been garaged into submission, twanged into twilight. Wish I could place the name of it, but it escapes me now. Anyway, it's a fun party kinda hoedown.