Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Reno - Gerry's Wavedotdotdot
artworkHere's a completely different approach to surf. Well, that's not quite right. It's not really surf. The only elements of surf present are shallow reverb, and an abundance of quick whammy dips. It's a solo guitar workout by Canadian artist Reno. He obviously can play the guitar. It doesn't quite have the surf feel, but it is a very interesting collection of tunes. 9 tracks, all instrumental, all solo guitar. Some are quite similar, others are quite unique. Being out on a limb like it is, you'll have to decide for yourself how surf worthy it is. For me, I'll play it and like it just fine. It's nice to hear new interpretations.
Picks: Gerry's Wave, The Pelican Strut, Tidal Wave, Big City Surf, The King's Lament, Mediterranean Surf, Steel Town Surf, Wha' Cha' Doin', Glazed In

Track by Track Review

Gerry's Wave dotdotdot
Surf Jazz (Instrumental)

"Gerry's Wave" is a jazzy solo guitar exercise with some reverb and damped rhythms. The feel is more jazz dementia than surf, and the tone is reverbed rock. The melody is not surf, not is the rhythm exactly, but the affect of the is to conjure images of a vintage player jammin' on the pier. Tasty.

The Pelican Strut dotdotdot
Surf Jazz (Instrumental)

Played a little slower, this would be real pretty. At this pace, it prances a bit too much for the melody. The whammy is very interesting, giving the impression of a drunken pelican. Pretty cool.

Tidal Wave dotdotdot
Tequila Surf (Instrumental)

Using similar guitaristry to the whammy riffs in "The Pelican Strut," this is much more surfy and much more twisted. I found myself coming back to this cut, and not quite knowing why. It has a warmth and playfulness that opens it to easy access. A frolic in the froth of shore break after a bit too much Tequila.

Big City Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More reverb and more surf and choppy fun. This is one cool track, unlike anything else. "Big City Surf" is bluesy and swimming with shortboard cutbacks and granny tube shoots. The writing is a little Paul Johnson-ish without being derivative. There's even some dribbling double picking and some real flair. Pretty darn cool.

The King's Lament dotdotdot
Sparkling Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato, flowing notes, a sad melody line, and a dusk departure seem all too close for comfort. "The King's Lament" is slowish, but not exactly relaxing. It is a flat surf kinda tune, but more sun dancing on the swells than peaceful lagoon. Pretty nice.

Mediterranean Surf dotdotdotdot
Spanish Main Surf (Instrumental)

While there are some Mediterranean elements here, there's more of the Moors and Spanish señoritas than Greeks bearing gifts. The fingering is excellent. I'd say this shows that Reno knows his way around the neck.

Steel Town Surf dotdotdot
Rusty Surf (Instrumental)

Can't say there's any surf here, except for the reverb, but this is one odd tune, colored with warble and strained through a burlap curtain. It's the sort of thing that leaves you unsure of the difference between up and down.

Wha' Cha' Doin' dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Wha wah, jazzy doings on the guit, chunk on the neck, and a sorta back alley soul feel as "Wha' Cha' Doin'" meanders through the corridors of your hangover. Quite unusual.

Glazed In dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Based on the same riff as "Wha' Cha' Doin'," "Glazed In" is more reverby and with less intrusive effects. Just as nice... just different.