Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Phantom Four - Madhurdotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the first formal release from the Phantom Four, and it is a superb set of mysterious and emotional songs based in surf and the Middle East. Trad fans may find too much to chew on here, but if you are adventurous at all, or a fan of the Treble Spankers or the Madeira, this will surely please you.
Picks: Kyma, Bravado Blue, Il Deserto Rosso, Mr. Miff, Point Bristo, Malabar, E-Tonic, Sitara, 4U, Fismi, Fillmore East, Mr. G, Remo Rifles, Madhur

Track by Track Review

Kyma dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An exotic beat and mysterious melody delivered with slightly edged twango create a strong and compelling image of the sensual and forbidden. Superb whammy at the ends of the guitar lines add to the sense of faraway and somewhat dangerous places. Way cool!

Bravado Blue dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mysterious and chop-chord driven, this dangerous piece projects a journey to a thieves den, an oasis where only the strong survive. Its outward sadness and simplicity mask the turmoil and risk within. I half expected something like the Aqua Velvets' "Bravado," but was very pleasantly surprised by a splendid Arabic influenced piece with rich textures and edge.

Il Deserto Rosso dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There is a desert imagery here that lives up to the track's name. Angular and slightly threatening, with dangerous whammy and a sad melody, "Il Deserto Rosso" is a splendid piece for a moody afternoon.

Mr. Miff dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I believe this is the only cover of The July 4's obscure "Mr. Miff." Gentle and tremolo laden, it shimmers and gently flows through a sad rock scene. Very nice!

Point Bristo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big whammy sting, spaghetti scenery, and spy thrills come together in this fluid and engaging piece. "Point Bristo" even features fuzz guitar, which adds a sense of lurking danger. A superb track with a lot going for it.

Malabar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Malabar" is a moderately fast surf number hinting of the Treble Spankers. Its Middle Eastern progression and chop chord coolness create circulating patterns of emotion and charm. Very cool.

E-Tonic dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A frantic frat rock kind of energy, a long with a a tick-tock melody pattern create a sense of nervousness. The wild warbly whammy gives it a San Francisco 1966 feeling. At time thick, and at other times flippant, "E-Tonic" is an adventure in juxtaposition.

Sitara dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The title suggests sitars, and guess what... "Sitara" is a splendid and dramatic track with ringing chords and sitar effects, along with very cool rolling keys. The mystery and moodiness of the exotic visions evoked by the songs' sound and structure are captivating. Simply superb!

4U dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"4U" is a tense number with drama and a sad flowing melody. Rhythmically engaging and splashed with whammy, this exotic number delivers nervous anticipation.

Fismi dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tremolo throb, haunted melody lines, chord drama, and military drums create tension, while the smooth and gentle bass gives you somewhere to stand that's serene. The high note double picked lines hint of Italy and bad guys.

Fillmore East dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an R&B rhythm and beat, and a mysterious melody, "Fillmore East" seems oddly titled. Imagine a soul band born in Egypt and affected by the psychedelic music evolving around them. That might be an apt description. The midsection, with its backwards guitar and howling feedback, is surely psychedelic mind warping.

Mr. G dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mr. G" is a slow piece with an open soft melody that floats on a sad scene. There's a sense of being trapped without anticipation of a way out. Quite affective. That said, there are parts of this that have the kind of new day dawning optimism that Jim Thomas' "Lonely Road" creates. Very nice.

Remo Rifles dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Remo Rifles" charges with intense energy and whammy. Dramatic and adventurous, with a more traditional melody line in an unconventional setting. I imagine this really rips in person.

Madhur dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The main theme of "Madhur" seems to be a swirl of incense and mystery, along with dark whammy chords and big drama. The middle is sullen, almost terminal in its grief. The lighter passages surrounding it are more optimistic, with sitar-like effects.