Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Sand-Dunes - S/Tdotdotdot
artworkThe Sand-Dunes are from Kings Beach, California. They are a foursome, a power surf trio enhanced by trumpet and Hammond organ. This set of tunes is hot and very energetic. The writing is mostly quite good, and the playing is excellent. The attack of the surf idiom is both traditionally reverent and modern. Their fresh use of the surf sound gives this disc a unique character. I'm quite impressed with the band. The shortfall of the CD-R is the mix. The quality is poor, very demo, with the lead guitar buried in the mix, and way too much drum action. What this does is sap a lot of the energy out of the performance and remove much of the power and prowess of the guitar work. It leaves it sounding quite distant, like it's in an adjacent room. There is an uncredited 17th track of swirling sounds processed heavily from "Moon River" and other sources. All very strange.
Picks: Boba Fett's Revenge, Penetration, The Bride Of The Wind, Rymd Invation, Six Million Dollar Man, La Comida Del Diablo, T.I.R.L.I.S.M.A.R., Amber Lynn, L.H.O.O.Q., The Bride Of The Wind, El Toro Loco, The Hillbilly Surf Stomp, Hava Miserlou [Hava Nagila / Miserlou], The Man With One Brown Shoe, John Wayne's Haircut, Turtles' Big Gun

Track by Track Review


Boba Fett's Revenge dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Swimming whammy and thumpy bass support a dribbled double pick riff, all driven with a ton of energy. The repetition wears thin pretty quickly, but power carries it off.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty routine cover of the Pyramids' hit, though the second guitar shimmers a lot and the lead is vibratoed and grodie. The tones and effect are unusual enough to keep in the keeper column, but the arrangement is otherwise quite standard.

The Bride Of The Wind dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow silky surf tones and lap steel like keyboard tones whisper in like the fluctuating breeze. This is a very pretty track, slightly Hawaiianesque, and very summery.

Rymd Invation dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This sports a very chunky surf intro that yields to a fine surf instro. The tune is well written and features well placed glissandoes and excellent guitar tone.

Six Million Dollar Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You have to wonder if a "Six Million Dollar Man" rides a "Six Million Dollar Board?" This is a solid performance, and the addition of Spanish trumpet adds to the surf feel. I think this would shine if recorded/mixed well.

La Comida Del Diablo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Spanish trumpet moodily introduces this tune like a matador's introduction a la the Tijuana Brass. The tune is exceptional. I like this track a lot. It's pretty and slow and very sad. The trumpet-horn interplay is well thought out.

T.I.R.L.I.S.M.A.R. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Solid surf and twang, and semi melodic riff work, swimming whammy, and a mysterious distant feel. The lead lines are so far back in the mix that's it's sometimes difficult to follow them.

Amber Lynn dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mean riff-surf twango, with an eye on a spot somewhere between Laika & the Cosmonauts and the Challengers with edge. Lots of power and energy, just an undynamic mix. The bongos add an element of bachelor suave to go with the "hey baby" sample in the intro.

L.H.O.O.Q. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another riff based melody line that lacks luster due to the production. It seems worthy enough as a song, just lacking in the sound department. The change to the slow trumpet lead is a nice transition here.

The Bride Of The Wind dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow silky surf tones and lap steel like keyboard tones whisper in like the fluctuating breeze. This is a very pretty track, slightly Hawaiianesque, and very summery.

El Toro Loco dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid vehicle for the trumpet. Fulla Bulla toreador ethics, surf jam whammy, swirling tone. The basic idea is very close to a Penetrators' "Melodie's Dilemma."

The Hillbilly Surf Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a chunky punkie chord churner, dark and mean, but not very interesting. It has a lot of energy and surf grind, but seems quite one dimensional. The quiet-down middle includes a sampled voice crying "I shot him."

Hava Miserlou [Hava Nagila / Miserlou] dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Though muddy, the very fast double picking is inspired. The melody line just plain screams along... Just about the fastest I've heard. The drums are flying in a punk flurry of in-a-big-hurry-with-nowhere-to-go energy. The trumpet where Dick Dale used it in "Miserlou" is very tasty, though quite brief. Mostly, this just rips your head off, then hands it back to you as if you could just replace it on your spinal chord and act like nothing has happened. Mighty fine performance.

The Man With One Brown Shoe dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What a title. The horn wah's distantly like the theme from a fifties black and white gumshoe tale. The guitar vibrates menacingly. The whole thing lumbers along at an almost painful pace.

John Wayne's Haircut dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

First there was Surfin' Dave & the Absent Legends "In Search Of A Decent Haircut," then Mark Brodie & the Beaver Patrol's "Bad Hair Day." Now, a rippin' number all about "John Wayne's Haircut." This is no barber school epic. It's a down to earth surf pounder. The organ's low down whirl gives this a bit more meanness. Strong and fun.

Turtles' Big Gun dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fifties soap opera organ glissando opens, but quickly enough we encounter a surf riff and major speed. The organ and guitar trade off the spotlight for variety.