Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Reluctant Aquanauts - The High Voltage Sounds Of...dotdotdotdot
artworkA fine first effort from the Reluctant Aquanauts. It may be mostly demos, but I think they are on their way to a strong sound and hopefully many more recordings. the covers are good choices, being mostly off the beaten path.
Picks: High Voltage, The Saint's Wake, The Kook, The Deputy's Empty Gun, Buddy And Julius, Scratch, Kung Bao Surf, Fall Of The Phoenix, 23 Skidoo, Do The Kelp!, Chrome Czars, Everybody Up

Track by Track Review


High Voltage dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A drivin'' surf instro with tuff drums and aggressive flair, and a cover of Jim Messina's "High Voltage." Not as riveting as the original, but very good to hear nonetheless. More or less straight, this version sports a lot of energy. It also provides the title for the release.

The Saint's Wake dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cool surf rhythm runs under a fine surf instro with an excellent spy-like melody. Moody, but not slow, and featuring some very nice whammy chords and glissandoes.

The Kook dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a nervous double picked intro reminiscent of Armageddon's "Buzzard," this track becomes an endless string of notes and a solid bass-drums backtrack.

The Deputy's Empty Gun dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A little cowboy action, but mostly a surf rage with a lot of edge and power. Big chords ring out, and the double picked leads rip in a playful melody that might remind you of Mark Brodie. "The Deputy's Empty Gun" is a splendid song.

Buddy And Julius dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A marching bass and drums support a very cool, almost military melody line that might have been influenced by "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go." Toy soldiers looking for the secret spot. The break is a dark surf rage. Unusual and very fun.

Scratch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards and Gene Moles wrote "Scratch." Many have recorded it. This harsh stereo take displays two guitars working well together from opposite channels. It's a fine cover.

Kung Bao Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kung Bao Surf" is a somewhat Spanish piece with a genuine surf feel. Nicely written and played, with a catchy melody line. Stereo panoramics add to the opening effects, but the track itself is mono.

Fall Of The Phoenix dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, soft flowing bass, and mystic chords create an island vision. The melody is soft and slightly sad, romantic and just a bit optimistic too. "Fall Of The Phoenix" is a very nice track.

23 Skidoo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"23 Skidoo" is a very good original with great damped rhythm, lots of reverb, and a genuine vintage sound. Slightly dark, and quite energized. Maybe my favorite track here, it invites repeated listening.

Do The Kelp! dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Harsh stereo guitar placement, a ska rhythm, and ringing whammy chords add up to a fine instro with an unusual melody that's very appealing.

Chrome Czars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big chords and dribbling reverb, solid surf sounds, and a memorable melody line that's very period. "Chrome Czars" is cool in a cold water sort of way. Wet suits required, and the curl lures you in.

Everybody Up dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Randy Holden splendid "Everybody Up" is pretty well done, with ska rhythm guitar and ample reverb on the lead. The drums are right, and so is the bass. A strong cover.