Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Saboteurs - Espionage Garagedotdotdotdot
artworkMark Brodie has returned. Master Brodie formed this new band after arriving in Japan on a teaching assignment. He scoured long and hard to find surf-saavy bandmates, and even harder to find a studio. This has a totally different sound than his Canadian recordings, more of a lo fi session, but all of the melodic writing is still evident. The tonal differences combined with the new members and studio sounds create a new band identity unlike the old. The Saboteurs have a much chunkier and earthier tone than the Beaver Patrol. The melodies are darker, less frivolous and happy. Mark's high-E sound here is less pristine than his earlier work. There is a more rhythm-oriented sound to many tracks. Apart from being different, this is a very strong CD.
Picks: Introduction, Unabomber, Spy Party, The Man From E. N. I. G. M. A., Espionage Garage, The Hearse, Midnight Rendezvous, Mission Unsurfable, The Crow Flies At Midnight, Our Favorite Saboteur, Main Theme From "The Smiler", Into The Shadows, Do The Creep, Conclusion

Track by Track Review

Introduction dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A dark and brooding talk-over dominates this chunky track. Mark welcomes you to the Espionage Garage, explaining it's purpose and crediting the actors.

Unabomber dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A spiffy faster paced number with a melody that reminds me of Richie Podolor or Richard Burns writing. The melody is very strong and brooding, almost evil, with ringing chords, and a chunky backtrack. I like the feel of this a lot.

Spy Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Owing a nod to "Laguna Limbo Luau," this track has splendid exotic sound, like when the Original Surfaris played havoc with Dave Myers exotica sessions. This is infectious, tiki-tribal, and fluid. Very fun.

The Man From E. N. I. G. M. A. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rumbling waves, trench coated shadow dwellers in dark glasses, and lost passports at the wall combine to create a sinister avocation for the displaced Canadian. The rhythm guitar is carrying on with an unusual riff and sound, which supports this track beautifully.

Espionage Garage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hinting of James Bond and other John Barry themes, this track sports clear-cut spyisms, an original melody line, and a playful dark side. It rolls along, and carries you with it to the exchange. Very nice track.

The Hearse dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Saboteurs do a marvelous version of Lee Hazelwood's brilliant song. It's chunky, thick, melodic, crisp, and powerful. Thanks to Mark for reviving this track so strongly.

Midnight Rendezvous dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine rhythmic track, loaded with moodiness from a melody line that oozes melancholy, and a hint of danger. The mid tempo chunk of this track adds to the effect. Nice work.

Mission Unsurfable dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lowdown grodie low-E lead double picked grinder with an ominous edge. This is melodic and dark, not brooding, just dangerous. Chunky beats and nice tom-tom work add to the darkness.

The Crow Flies At Midnight dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a single-note low-E melody piece with an almost Shadows-like structure. The melody is pretty, and the delivery is dark. A solid track.

Our Favorite Saboteur dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine cover of Bobby Fuller's classic surf instro. The arrangement is strait off Bobby's, except that the second guitar is delivering chords instead of damped single-note surf. A fine sounding cover.

Main Theme From "The Smiler" dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Melodic movie theme stuff, not very inspired, but well played. Marks' interpretation is smooth and complimentary.

Into The Shadows dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sampled snippet intros this track. The ambiance is dark and dangerous, moody and uneasy. The melody is solid, and the effect is powerful. The string swipes add a dangerous edge to an already threatening situation. Very good.

Do The Creep dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Almost King Of Hawaii-like in it's backtrack, but organ led. The melody is ok, but it didn't grab me at all.

Conclusion dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The guitar chunks out a Peter Gunn-ish progression while the narrative ends the CD.