Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
North Of Malibu - Greetings, Surflings!dotdotdotdot
artworkMany of these songs have been previously recorded in more or less demo form by North Of Malibu, but this is miles above those efforts. Strong sound, big drums, and intensely delivered guitar. What they've done with "Backwash" is just superb! This is modern surf rock with strong vintage roots.
Picks: Man From Malta, Backwash, Baja, Mr. Moto, Squad Car, Return Of The Creature, Apache, Surf Rider, The Wedge, California Man, Rumble, Laredo Sunset

Track by Track Review

Man From Malta dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Big rock guitar with long sustain and distortion plays a surf instro with dark whammy and some great drums. "Man From Malta" is dangerous and very modern, though the melody feels like eighties inland surf.

Backwash dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Somewhat updated from its 2006 roots, "Backwash" is substantially more magical in this bluesy arrangement. The lead harmonica makes the Strangers' "Caterpillar Crawl" influence even more delicious, as it sounds like Canned Heat on a 9'6"", kind of like they actually did this. The Strangers-Canned Heat linkage is writer Joel Hill. but just different enough not to be a cover. It has the same bass line and pacing, and a very similar mood and melody line. All that just adds to the magic here. You can also feel The Rumblers here, but this is so very original sounding.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Significantly punched up, with modern and vintage tones coexisting to great effect. I really like what North Of Malibu has done with this Lee Hazelwood classic surf instro. It's simple, but compelling. Great drums!

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's classic 1960 composition is done with reverence. Strong drums, a gentle flow, and well written bass connect for a fine ride.

Squad Car dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Strong drums and bass drive modern distortion guitars for a very effective updating of Eddie and the Showmen's classic "Squad Car." It's not powerhouse in pace or energy, and that is part of the key to its success. The confident restraint really makes this shine.

Return Of The Creature dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is an updating of "The Creature." It's a gnarly, circular tune with an ominous sound. Quite simple, yet dangerously compelling. This slow song is tuff and moody. Big drum thunder, tormented guitar, feedback, pickslides, psychedelic effects and panoramics. Downright dangerous!

Apache dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Tribal drums and bass thunder, with an arrangement that is beat-centric. It is based on The Shadows version, but sports west coast whammy and grit. Quite nice.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards' often covered song flows at the pace employed by The Lively Ones, but with more prominent drums and punch.

The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's eighties arrangement is the basis here. The drums rock, the glissandos shred, the leads power, and the bass thunders mightily. Lots of fire here, with superb energy and classic surf attack.

California Man dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Big rock energy and power, with rockin' boogie rhythms. "California Man" is infectious. Both the title and the melody remind me of The Move's classic rocker, though it's not their song.

Rumble dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Is it possible to not rip with "Rumble?" Big, screaming guitar, angry feedback, whammy torture, and grit. This is rhythmic and very respectful to the man!

Laredo Sunset dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is a lovely, fluid song with a lovely melody. Extremely well arranged drums and bass move perfectly in support of this Spanish beauty. "Laredo Sunset" really grows on you.