Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Pollo Del Mar - Year Of The Roosterdotdotdotdotdot
artworkPollo Del Mar have become one of the most artful and supremely impressive surfbands of the modern era. Their music emotes stunning imagery via seasoned and fluid playing and exceptional arranging. It has been my pleasure to know these guys, and to host them live from time to time. This CD presents live tracks from four venues (The Pit at KFJC, the Blank Club in San Jose, California, the Muse in Kyoto, Japan, and N9 in Eeklo, Belgium. The many faces of Pollo Del Mar are here for your enjoyment. Don't be left out!

It was interesting hearing random folks at the Blank Club show tell me how much this band has matured, and how wonderful they are. I hope they know ho much they have meant to me. As a superfine bonus, there are three QuickTime movies of the band live.
Picks: Annabelle Lee > Red Asphalt, Dark Side Of The Mushroom > As Above, So Below, 7 Sisters, 7 Seas > Hall Of The Mountain King, The Wild, Wild West Medley, Nightsticks, The Cruel Sea, Tsunami Struck, Peaches En Regalia, A Flash Of Green, The Bells Of St. Kahuna, Jack The Ripper, Insecticide, Surf Party, Wipe Out

Track by Track Review

Annabelle Lee > Red Asphalt dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Right from the eerie opening feedback and moody bass line, I just knew this was going to be superb. Pollo Del Mar has been playing "Annabelle Lee" for a while. It's a wonderful song with genuinely eerie imagery and wonderful chemistry. Totally cool.

"Annabelle Lee > Red Asphalt" segues into the rhythmic and pumping "Annabelle Lee > Red Asphalt." named after the drivers' ed classes we all had to endure in high school, "Red Asphalt" portrays moody howls, great chop-chord rhythms, and real power. Mid flight, Ferenc commands "I want you get up close to your radios. I want you to put your hands on your receivers. I want you to pray to the God of Reverb!"

At 9:28, this is a marvelous and consistently engaging performance.

Dark Side Of The Mushroom > As Above, So Below dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Dark Side Of The Mushroom " slowly unfolds in drama and psycho-acoustic evolution, rich in texture and hypnotic wonder. Pollo Del Mar bring an immense aural beauty and mind vision to this song.

"As Above, So Below" remains one of their most haunting and profoundly mysterious songs. Brilliantly painted on a canvas of sound, the song portrays a water-world of changing patterns of green and blue light in a serene and crystalline liquid environment. Wonderful!

When submission for the Richard Podolor Tribute CD moved from inkling to reality, I suggested Ferenc consider "Dark Side Of The Mushroom." He thought I was nuts, but I envisioned the haunting and minimalist psychedelia of Bill Cooper and Richard Podolor's song previously only cut by the Chocolate Watchband could easily become a swirl of psychedelic surf in Pollo Del Mar's hands. I'm very glad I was right.

7 Sisters, 7 Seas > Hall Of The Mountain King dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grand contrast between textured rhythm, slithering bass, and tribal drums, and the gorgeous howl of the lead guitar brings a chills. The drums are magnificent, and the bass rumble in perfect support. The two guitars play separate parts that, when combined with the rhythm section, become a very strong and emotionally engaging piece. "7 Sisters, 7 Seas" is amazing.

Segued gloriously, Pollo Del Mar moves to a gradually building and very beautiful arrangement of Edvard Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King." Ringing with grins and lovely tone, and evolving gradually from slow to fast and from lush to rockin', this song is hard not to like.

The Wild, Wild West Medley dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Wild, Wild West Medley" is a great romp through a slab of western themes. "Apache" is the opener, and it's hopped up with a great rolling cowboy rhythm as compared to the slow fluid way they did it as a single piece, and is dripping with reverb. Second in line is a single line from "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly," followed by ("The Magnificent Seven") "The Marlboro Theme." Next comes the "Hi-Yo Silver" theme from The Lone Ranger (Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture") which moves into the theme from the TV show "The Wild, West West," with all the requisite twang and reverb required. Next, they dove right into "The Fishin' Hole" from Mayberry, RFD. Then came a stinging chord version of an Italian western theme I can't place. With cowbells in hand, they move into the archetypal cowboy instro "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky," which Pollo Del Mar rode through with deluxe percussion and reverb. It all closed out with a few lines from "Apache." Eight and a quarter minutes of cactus reverb and fun.

Nightsticks dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pollo Del Mar drive the manic "Nightsticks" very hard. Captured from the soundboard, it displays how much energy they can put into a song. The crowd loves it. It's slightly stereo-ized via room ambiance and reverb.

The Cruel Sea dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The amazing Shigeo Naka of the Surf Coasters plays lead guitar on this grand performance of Mike Maxfield's "The Cruel Sea." Full of fire and drive, the band delivers the goods and Shigeo adds immensely with a superb performance. The power in this track is obvious, and the audience clearly gets it. It was an amazing performance.

Tsunami Struck dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Everyone is firing on all cylinders as Pollo Del Mar becomes "Tsunami Struck," one of the more fiery Surf Coasters songs. This is a very hot performance. It drips power.

Peaches En Regalia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frank Zappa's quirky jazz-rock instro was a natural for Pollo Del Mar. I recall thinking to myself "of course" when I first heard them do it. Everything about the band lends itself to this song. Even the chorus is perfect. Powerful, moody, and soaring on wings of fancy. Magnificent.

A Flash Of Green dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"A Flash Of Green" was an instant fave when I first heard it. As all Pollo Del Mar songs, it continues to evolve over time. This is a lovely performance captured in full flight. The two guitars balance against each other well, and the drums are magnificent. I'm struck how important the bass is here. Great track!

The Bells Of St. Kahuna dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slacktone's "The Bells Of St. Kahuna" is a wonder of fire. Full, fiery, slithery, and very dramatic. The liquid glissandos and driving drums make this song, but without the bass and second guitar, it would be less. The mix of the four is very chemical.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What would rock'n'roll be without Link Wray's "Jack The Ripper?" Intense, flying high, interestingly effected guitars, howling feedback, rumbling bass, powerful drums... what else do you need to know?

Insecticide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Insecticide" is a longtime Pollo Del Mar song that's always great to hear. For my money, the best part of this is the wonderful performance of Gershon Kinglsey's super fun "Popcorn." The audio is phase-compromised ambient, but the performance is excellent and it's very nice to see the band in their natural light.

This was recorded live January 15, 2005 at t'Beest in Goes, The Netherlands.

Surf Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

For some unknown reason, the audio is very low level on this movie, but crank it up. The classic Bobby Beverly - William Dunham composition rocks, and the crowd loves it. Nicely respectful of the Astronauts version, and wonderfully played.

Ferenc Dobronyi is sitting in with Japan's magnificent Surf Coasters, captured live on November 6, 2004 at the Kinoto Club in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards and Shigeo Naka sit in with Pollo Del Mar at the El Camino Club in Akasaka, Tokyo, Japan on November 4, 2005. It's a rousing and straight forward performance of the Surfaris's classic. In some ways, the bass solo verse is the most unique. Nokie sits on his stool for the performance. Great fun.