Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Pyronauts - Surf Or Diedotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the first real CD release for the Pyronauts. 15 surf instros played in a trad style with some inventive variations and arrangement ideas. The sound of the band is a little like Sacramento's Hypnotic IV, but slower and more delicate. I find this CD easy to play repeatedly, particularly "Go-Go Girl," the silky lap steel "Sleep Walk," and the soft approach to "Baja." Nice surf release.
Picks: Go-Go Girl, Surfin' Espana, Misirlou, Penetration, Apache, Walk, Don't Run, Pipeline, Boogieman, 4Q, Baja, Sleepwalk, The Ghastly Stomp, Peter Gunn, Mr. Moto, Nitrus

Track by Track Review

Go-Go Girl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine interpretation of Ernesto Lecuona's "Malaguena," based loosely on the Trashmen's version, but more dramatic and delicate, and much more adventurous. Lots of chunk and rhythm, great surf reverb, and plenty of drama. A very nice track.

Surfin' Espana dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Spanish melody and sounds project an image of a slightly sad village scene, as if there's a funeral procession passing by. Great drums and interesting writing.

Misirlou dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Harsh driving grumbling thunder characterizes this version of "Misirlou." The vibrating bass and dribbling reverb guitar are nicely contrast against one another.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyramids' classic "Penetration" is delicately and respectfully played, with a kind of restrained feel. Very nice for a change.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jerry Lordan's Indian classic gets a facelift, with weird Indian shouts and whoops, and a softened approach. It's an interesting arrangement with lots of original ideas filtering out the one-more-cover effect.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very cool chord work and rich reverb surf lead guitar. Mostly pretty standard, but still very enjoyable.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyronauts play a very trad rendition of the Chantays' "Pipeline," with as much delicate chunk as they can muster. Nothing new here, but competent and enjoyable traditional sounds. The glissandoes are modeled on the Lively Ones' version.

Boogieman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish finger picking and reverb, solo guitar, and then a chunky spunky surf groover. The melody riff is trad in structure, and variable enough in delivery to avoid sounding repetitious. Some of the flying guitaristry is magically attractive. Cool track.

4Q dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"4Q" is a very cool variation on a classical Russian theme, with rich tone and an infectious gate. Stands up well to multiple listenings.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's classic "Baja" is played delicately and fluidly, in a softer setting than normal, and to great effect. This is such a flexible melody. Very nice track, delicate and dramatic, and friendly.

Sleepwalk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk" is lap steel delivered over a slow surf bed with a warm sound and rich tone. Sinewy and suave for sure. It's almost as if they overdubbed the hit.

The Ghastly Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sparkling surf and monster motion, rhythmic and splashy, and quite fun. Low-E growl and high e sparkle, and excellent arranging. Hot dog!

Peter Gunn dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Now, this is a nice way to treat Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn!" Slow and silky, grumbly and full, and only hinting of a minor threat. As it speeds up, it gets more traditional and more menacing and more dribbling. very cool!

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's "Mr. Moto" is presented in a fairly true-to-form way, with the addition of a bass line and some different guitar interplay. Nice track.

Nitrus dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's "Nitrus" gets the full reverb and dribbly effect. It gives it a whole new character.