Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The Reventlos - Essential Reventlo
|What's that lurking in the weeds along the side of the road... looks like a bunch of normal geeks having some kind of twisted identity crisis... why, that must be... The Reventlos! From the worn club-ways of the city of angels come four veterans in search of relief. Doing the hang at a Hellecasters show, Gregg & Matt detected a twinge joy creeping across their collective brow when they discovered it was all right not to have a singer, and not do be playing morbid & depressed songs. "Hey, we could do that!" echoed somewhere in the gray matter. Having no particular pigeon hole they wanted to fill, and having played in every kind of band that ever was, they went for sound capsules instead of a formulaic sound. Every song tells it's own story with it's own sound, so variety becomes the watchword. There's no mistaking it's the Reventlos, it's just every tune is a new and different experience. There's Death Surf, Turnip Truck Twang, Space Invader Bottleneck Tweaked Soundtrackage, ConFusion, SludgeProg, Heavy Surf Sludge, Spoken Kraut Rock, Cry Baby Wah Wah, Floating Mood Rock, Flowing Tropical Funk, Cow Pop Church Key Whammy Bar, Scenic Polynesian MoodScape, Sludge-O-Metal Death Grunge Drama Scope, and Major Mondo Metal Drudge Monster Movie Soundscape. All in all, mighty big entertainment. I've heard a couple of stories about the origin and/or meaning of the band's name. The earliest tale was that they named themselves after a fashion designer named Reventlo because they could. The second was recently posted on Cowabunga, and is more fun. |
"The most often heard remark at any Reventlo show is "Hey, you guys aren't a surf band!" The second most is "what the hell is a Reventlo anyway?" No one knows for sure, but one story has the band borrowing the name from legendary playboy/race car driver Lance Reventlow, heir to the Woolworth fortune (and once married to a Mouseketeer), who lived fast and died young. Reventlow was the last man to share a brew with James Dean before Dean was sent to hell on a lonely California road (you can look it up). There are other equally murky stories, but the bottom line is that they had to call themselves something, and the Swingin' Johnsons was already taken."
Picks: Death Of A Reventlo, Reventlo Hayride, Planet Reventlo, Two Roys, Over The Falls, Pass The Gow (I Think I'm Chet Baker), El Pendejo, Persephone, Andromeda Sex Lounge, Western Stars, (Theme From) Maj Wood, Girl From Colonet, Meet Mr. Reventlo, King Kong
Track by Track Review
Death Surf riseth! A new and viable concept finds acceptance in the guise of splendidly dark and twisted necrosurf. The most amazing blend of death metal sensibility and surf foundations works really well here.
Turnip Truck Twang (Instrumental)
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, these dry whited humor mongers develop their own bumpkin surf genre accompany you on your next town doings when you partake of the "Reventlo Hayride," making for fun and corn dogs. A great concept.
There is no more unique a band on earth! When these guys called and said "we wanna play on your show," I'd never heard of them. They sent me their CD, and that was that! Their story is simple. They were a vocal band, saw the Tail Gators, said we can do better than that, fired their singer, and became monsters. If any band today can be classed as different than all the rest, it's them, with their warbly guitars and transitional mixtures of surf and space and metal and country and... every song is a capsule, an island unto itself. This was recorded in the pit in November of '95.
Roy du Surf (Instrumental)
The Reventlos pay homage to Roy Buchanan & Roy Orbison in reverent bow to the two Roys of rock.
Unnatural mergers of style are the trademark of the Reventlos, and they certainly have used it wisely here, creating "ConFusion" with "Over The Falls."
Pass The Gow (I Think I'm Chet Baker)
Venturing into thick plodding progressive melody bending seemed to be the order of the day when they created this little number. The Chet Baker references aren't lost, lest you be unaware on Mr. Baker.
Heavy Surf Sludge (Instrumental)
Right from the Quadraverb drenched initial surf chordage, there's no mistaking the dynamite power of this unusual surf track. It's as big and powerful as that double overhead you failed to take notice of before it had you for lunch.
Mythological Kraut Rock Surf (Vocal)
The Reventlos set about raising the daughter of Zeus & Demeter from the endless sleep with spoken word over a Kraut Rock (a la Kraan) prog bed with Cry Baby wah wah rhythms. This is the most amazing sojourn into the mythological world ever put forth in surf (if not the only one).
Floating Mood Rock (Instrumental)
Atmospheric flowing mood swing in a very Phil Manzanera / 801-ish piece. It leaves you rested and fulfilled.
There's no more unusual or enjoyable band than the Reventlos. They ride out at the edge of the surf universe, drafting every lick they've collectively used in past bands, and they do so using a splendid sense of juxtaposition and art. This appealing track flows with a tropical feel over a funky bed. Very nifty.
Cow Pop Church Key Whammy Bar (Instrumental)
Riding out the cattle drive successfully with guitars in hand, we find the cow pop mentality blended with "Church Key" influenced whammy bar action for a solid, if bovine effect. That last time the Herefords had this much fun was when the herd (sp) the Suburbs' absurd paean to the hooved ones "Cows" or the Chaps' exquisite Scot-ization of "Rawhide."
Scenic Polynesian MoodScape (Instrumental)
The boys use imagery to create scenic Polynesian mood scapes. Quite a nice track.
Sludge-O-Metal Death Grunge Drama Scope (Instrumental)
The Reventlos employ the full range of their styles, contrasting a from whimsical epic play prancery into a sludge metal death grunge drama. For the changes alone, this is a must have.
Major Mondo Metal Drudge Monster Movie Soundscape (Instrumental)
This huge lumbering monster track stands head and shoulders above anything their predecessors have ever done. It is stunning, and extremely powerful. From it's metal drudge monster movie soundtrack homage to it's twangy guitar leads and speed-picked melody, "King Kong" simply pummels! The track time displays as over 11 minutes, but it is actually only 3:30, with a couple of backwards bits at -1:30 & -:18.