Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Kenny Sasaki and the Tiki Boys - Tiki Popdotdotdot
artworkKenny Sasaki and the Tiki Boys play an original blend of modern surf, traditional exotica, and hypnotic near-trance that is engaging and thoroughly charming. This is one fine sidetrip on your surf sojourn. Some of this is cheesy lounge, but much of it is surf influenced and very rich.
Picks: Jungle River, Jill The Spy, Bikini Banzai, Ponape, Slow Ride, Erotica Exotica, Torches, Kaanapali, Beach Bunny, Margarita, Aliens In Honolulu

Track by Track Review

Jungle River dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

This is one moody and mysterious track, with superb production and tonality. The exotica island imagery is superb, and when melded with surf charm, well... this simply shines! "Jungle River" is a charming instro with shimmering modern surf toned lead and vibes and voodoo drums, and bongos, rounded out by nearly subliminal bass that acts as the cement that makes it all work.

Jill The Spy dotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

"Jill The Spy" features a simple riff and pattern that's slightly hypnotic. It's not out of the question to find this really working well in a trance set. As it unfolds, you find yourself engaged at an emotional level. Oh the joy of simplicity and evolving arrangements!

Bikini Banzai dotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

With a Peter Gunn-ish moodiness and soul, "Bikini Banzai" rumbles and slithers with modern surf charm and relentless percussion. It's exotic, hypnotic, and aquatic.

Ponape dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

This is one a lovely island exotic instro. It paints the kind of picture that a relaxed version of Adventures In Paradise would. Its gentle pace and haunting production are a perfect setting for the guitar and bass, and the percussion is traditional hand drums and gourd. Brings an easy grin.

Slow Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

Spooky, slow, misty, exotic, and lush. The vibes are so Martin Denny that you'd think it was 1959 in Honolulu. Almost fifty years later, the exotica sound remains vital and relaxing, and updated tracks like this make it clearly modern. Very nice!

Erotica Exotica dotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

On the Spanish side, "Erotica Exotica" has a gentle playful melody and easy sound. Maybe leaning more to classic exotica than most others here, it also has less unique character. Still, it's a very enjoyable track.

Torches dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

A touch dramatic, "Torches" sports a great beat on superbly played drums. The bass is also exactly right for the track. The lead vibes and guitar are excellent. This really gets you going via its tribal blood and emotional content. Rich with primal lust.

Kaanapali dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kaanapali" is a slow moving romancer. This is pure slow dance on holiday fair, done in a relaxed and slightly exotic fashion. A very pretty track.

Beach Bunny dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Beach Bunny" runs atop a rock rhythm pattern and catchy beat. The lead guitar is echoed and tweaky in a retro modern kinda way. This really grows on you. It's not really melodic, but it's quite original and infectious in its own right.

Margarita dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bongos and an exotic stomp, along with slightly disturbed exotica, support a simple organ melody. I found this to remind me a lot of early sixties combo singles, yet to be modern. Quite fun.

Aliens In Honolulu dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Softly and slowly tweaking its way along tremolo boulevard, "Aliens In Honolulu" shimmers and easy-charms you, at least until the shaft wah-wah peaks into the mix. This is easily the least engaging of the tracks here.