Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Pyronauts - Unsightly Pitstopdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Pyronauts CD Surf Motel wetted my appetite for a live set. They played a magnificent set in the Pit. It's captured here. A must see band.
Picks: The Ghastly Stomp, Mohawk, Beach Bum, Lake Surfin', Mike's Barracuda, Surfer Girl, The Fury, Mr. Moto, 4Q, Boogieman, Baja, Go-Go Girl, Surfer Dave, Amazing Wave, Under Toe, Endless Summer, Hunter Beach, Vlad The Surfer, Misirlou, Wipe Out

Track by Track Review


The Ghastly Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ghastly Ones' "Ghastly Stomp" opens this live set in fine form. Rhythmic and glissando laden, with drama and crashin' reverb danger. Great track.

Mohawk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mohawk" is a mighty cool song with a war drum beat and bass rhythm grumble under a slowly building Indian progression. It's not exactly melodic, but its tribal rhythmic nature makes it infectious.

Beach Bum dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's plenty of change, variation, and high energy drums to keep "Beach Bum" happening. The thunder and sparkle, summer surf shimmer, and great reverb tone of the song, along with its traditional progression basis, makes it infectious, while a little subdued. Excellent.

Lake Surfin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody line in "Lake Surfin" is solidly surfable, with a dribbled double picked midsection that's almost magical. The great drums, smooth grumbly bass, and frequent verse to verse changes keep it happening. The ska verse is a brilliant move. Liquid and reverby.

Mike's Barracuda dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mike's Barracuda" is a faster surf track, rhythmic and splashy, with great glissandos. basic surf grumble and power.

Surfer Girl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyronauts take the Beach Boys' sappy "Surfer Girl" into a liquid territory where the girls go gaga. Romantic and fluid, and oh-so delicate.

The Fury dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The rapid fire "Fury" rages just as you'd expect from the name. There's fire in the bellies as this Dick Dale-ish monster fires off. Yikes!

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's signature song "Mr. Moto" is performed with reverb and reverence. A solid track.

4Q dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"4Q" live is even cooler than on disc. Its variations on a classical Russian theme, with rich tone and an infectious gate, stand up well. Quite effective and powerful.

Boogieman dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boogieman" is a chunky reverbed surf dirge with a splashy infectious sound. On the grumbly side, and a bit dangerous, it's a solid surf rant.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's flexible "Baja" is delicate and fluid. The softness is shattered by the rhythmic bridge. I like this performance a lot.

Go-Go Girl dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Go-Go Girl" is a solid reinvention of Ernesto Lecuona's magnificent "Malaguena." The Pyronauts employ many of the flamenco roots here, well beyond a typical surf cover. It's also loosely based 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.

Surfer Dave dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfer Dave" is a moody almost Russian track with a rhythm dominated sound. The subdued melody is very cool. Rich and mysterious.

Amazing Wave dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Amazing Grace" is dedicated to the Astronauts that were lost in the Columbia earlier in the day. It's very respectful and adventurous. An excellent idea, well executed.

Under Toe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Your board is "Under Toe." This almost classical piece has a touch of the Mermen in the melody and drama. Live, it's even better than on disc!

Endless Summer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sandals' "Endless Summer" is liquefied with reverb and delicacy. It brings warm grins to your heart to hear it so well done.

Hunter Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a brand new song, with a classical introduction and a rhythmic basis. "Hunter Beach" writhes on a reverb wave with glissandoes peppered to taste. Cool song.

Vlad The Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Vlad The Surfer" is a rhythmic and grumbly song, with a dark, thick, riff dominated sound. The almost "Tequila" bridge is cool too.

Misirlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a more or less Dick Dale arrangement, but with even more flying glissandoes, and big thunder. There's sure no shortage of fire here. Some original passages and fills make it all theirs. very nice!

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyronauts do a pretty credible "Wipe Out," with drums about as close to the Ron Wilson sound as I've heard in a while. Quite fun.