Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Revtunes - Surfin' To The Max!dotdotdot
artworkMinneapolis' The Revtunes (aka Rev-Tunes) have finally issued all the archival goods from their vaults. There's lots of ska rhythms and beats, eighties pop ethics, and surf here to take you to places not very trad that are nonetheless very fun and satisfying. the production is too boomy, but your EQ can handle that, except for tracks 14-17, which are mono with almost no midrange, leaving the guitars out in the cold. For all of its aural limitations, this is nonetheless a fine example of eighties surf the way it was.
Picks: Surfin' To The Max, Big Bad Melvin, Freefall, Ridin' The Crest, The Avenger, Goin' Nowhere (In Two Minutes Flat), Oriental Strut, Hyper-IntenSion, Skylines At Dawn, Ride The Solar Wind, The Visitation, Tchaikovsky Rocks Again, Speeding Thru Gotham, Raw-Hide, Driving Guitars, Whittier Blvd., Wipe Out, The Tubes

Track by Track Review


Surfin' To The Max dot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

I had no idea this Midwest outfit was still around, and maybe they aren't considering the age of this track. The recording is downright horrid, with drums sounds that are unique in all the world, and the panoramics are dumb, with the drums on one side and the guitar on the other. Heavily Ventures influenced, the perform with nearly as little feeling and energy as that dinosaur band. The tune is little more than a progression.

Big Bad Melvin dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

This lumbering number slyly smiles through its very cool melody line. Not really goofy or gimmicky, yet grin inducing. "Big Bad Melvin" is a slow moving track with an oddly cool cabinet rattle on the right in sync with the bass.

Freefall dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

This is either a recut or serious remix of their 1984 single. The bass is much rounder, but the spirit is still bright-eyed coolness. An excellent track for a light hearted drive down the coast.

Ridin' The Crest dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

A ska backbeat pumps up a fine California eighties surf instro. The optimism of the melody is guarded at times, and then rises to sing to the skies. A very cool number!

The Avenger dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

Big drums in the Ventures mold drive this slightly fuzzy Theremin accompanied whacked-out spy song. It's very cool, though fairly minimal. The drums are the energy center.

Goin' Nowhere (In Two Minutes Flat) dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

A ska rhythm gives an infectious edge to this very cool melody. It's a superbly fun track with a warm melody that invites you in. As it all rises in the break and then falls again, there's a sense of anticipation. Very cool!

Oriental Strut dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

The wonderful melody line here is perfectly supported by the ska beat. This fine track is infectious and very fun, with a cool round sound and very endearing melody. It's hard to sit still while this is in your player.

Hyper-IntenSion dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

Big fuzz keys and dangerous charm coupled with a splendidly simple riff capture your attention. High energy tweakery off the trad scale and into vintage eighties pop - sort of. Way cool!

Skylines At Dawn dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

This has a fifties easy listening sound and feel, like Paul Mauriat or Percy Faith updated and at the beach. Soft and romantic, but with a scary edge.

Ride The Solar Wind dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

The drums race to bring on the mystery and charm of the melody. "Ride The Solar Wind" is a fast number in the mold of some of the Ventures' Japanese singles. Superb energy, great drums, and a smart riff.

The Visitation dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

Tweaky sci-fi keyboard sounds and fuzzy almost helicopter keyboard melody lines make this a very strange eighties style instro. Too fun!

Tchaikovsky Rocks Again dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

A familiar Tchaikovsky melody gets a pumping keyboard and guitar treatment for simple fun. You can't have your pretension hat on for this one. It's just fun!

Speeding Thru Gotham dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

Sort of "Outer Limits" keys open to a ska beat and circulating modern guitar melody line. "Speeding Thru Gotham" is a rockin' track just for fun. Its guitar work is very nice.

Raw-Hide dotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

This is a very murky recording of Link Wray and his Raymen's "Raw-Hide." It's so murky, it's hard to hear the guitars, yet the energy is clearly there.

Driving Guitars dotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

The Ventures' "Driving Guitars" is also pretty murky, but it sports strong energy and fire despite the hazy sound.

Whittier Blvd. dotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

One of the great semi-obscure instros of the mid sixties was Thee Midnighters' "Whittier Blvd.." This is a very hot performance that is unfortunately very poorly captured. Still, this is a fine performance and superb cover choice.

Wipe Out dotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

Driving drums and bass obscure the fine guitar work in this spunky cover of the Surfaris' "Wipe Out."

The Tubes dotdotdotdot
Eighties Surf Pop (Instrumental)

"The Tubes" is a superb track, with a great riff and cool eighties energy. Lots of infectious licks and rhythms.