Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Reigning Monarchs - The Reigning Monarchsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis album is finally on CD. It' very well done. Excellent arrangements, strong performances, consistent sound, and plenty to catch your attention. It's a ways off the main stream, with horns, organ, and elements of a number of non-surf genres. Adventurous an rock solid. If you liked The O'Hara's, you'll love this!
Picks: Fanfare For The Well-Dressed Man, Short Pants For Fatty, ...And Then They Were Upon Us, Lambretta, Johnny Mac, The Duke, Thrown From a Rooftop Downtown, Mister Higgins, Fuel The Jets, Cuffed And Linked, True And Mighty, Spectre, Cowboy Shirt

Track by Track Review

Fanfare For The Well-Dressed Man dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Fanfare For The Well-Dressed Man" is a bold instro with drama, brash horns, and a big sound. It's aggressive and multi-textured, and its title suits the song well.

Short Pants For Fatty dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This riff rocker sports guitar and organ trading dominance, and horn amping it up. There are surf guitar licks, glissandos, and a whole lotta fun within. "Short Pants For Fatty" is not melodic the way surf instros are, but it slides easily into a surf set nonetheless.

...And Then They Were Upon Us dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Slow whammy tremble and a detective psychedelic ambiance over tribal drums create a compelling wash of sound. "...And Then They Were Upon Us" is not particularly melodic - more like a sound experience than a song, and yet really holds your attention.

Lambretta dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

"Lambretta" sports an infectious rhythm and trembling keys a la "Riders On The Storm." The horns and guitars suggest the surf films of old transformed into travelogs. This is really charming, fun, and wholly original!

Johnny Mac dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A ska beat and haunted tremolo echo keys, along with some big stinging whammy chords make a big wash of imagery. Midstream, horns and big drama browse the aural soundscape. It's the ska versus long guitar sections that compel listening. Original and very cool!

The Duke dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Superb guitar and production values, with great drums and a splashy guitar line that's really quite fun and infectious. Energy, bright drama, lots of very cool changes in tone and arrangement. "The Duke" is very strong!

Thrown From a Rooftop Downtown dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Angular guitar, great drums, horns, and spies riding the twangmobile. "Thrown From a Rooftop Downtown" is well thought out and executed. There are many cool elements here, from the glissandos and feedback to the percussion. The break is psychedelic.

Mister Higgins dotdotdotdot
Surf Jazz (Instrumental)

"Mister Higgins" is an easy flowing surf jazz number with superb playing and arranging. This sort of thing usually does not catch my attention, but I do like this! The mid section is really nice with delicate tremolo guitar and distant island slide calling you away from it all.

Fuel The Jets dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fast rocker with intense energy and loud tone. Very well executed, with superb drums and angular chop chords.

Cuffed And Linked dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

In a gentle nod to Link Wray if he were a reggae star, "Cuffed And Linked" is fun and saucy, sports cool piano and horns, and slithers into your mind whether you want it to o not. Quite fun.

True And Mighty dotdotdotdot
Surf Ska (Instrumental)

Delicate notes ring in the intro before the ska rhythm takes hold. Superb percussion and a sound that generally reminds me of what a surfier Square Roots would sound like. Too much fun!

Spectre dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Pop drama in the drums and rhythm guitar give "Spectre" the feeling of a fifties slow romancer. It eventually rises to a louder sound, but throughout, there is the dominant fifties feel. I love this!

Cowboy Shirt dotdotdot
Cow Surf (Instrumental)

Cowboy rhythms and melody, organ and horn verses, and a bit of spaghetti. "Cowboy Shirt" is nicely arranged and richly layered.