Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Shaken Stephen - Mucho Romanticodotdotdotdot
artworkShaken Stephen is the new project from ex-Neptunes guitarist Stephen Carter. These are demos in the similar style to that band, but often more subdued and subtle. Fine material in the making here.
Picks: Gone Dead Train, In The Rain, Ten Miles Out, Way Cool Hair, Montego Moon, Diamond Fish, Sleepy Time, Italian In The Old West, The Claw, Envicta, Michele, Switchblade Comb, The Thirteenth Floor

Track by Track Review


Gone Dead Train dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Influenced by the "Train Kept A-Rollin'," this cruncher uses chord chops and great snare to support long whammy chords. Like Link Wray meets the Johnny Burnette.

In The Rain dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The delicacy and funk of the chords reminds me of Joe Allan and the Shapes' (Allan Powell - Hawkwind) "Low Life," but more liquefied.

Ten Miles Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ten Miles Out" sounds like it was written with the Neptunes in mind. Very rhythmic with a rolling melody line. Chunky and catchy, with grodie chords and punchy glissandoes.

Way Cool Hair dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's the unusual nature of the melody line and dissonant chords that set "Way Cool Hair" apart. Slinky and playful, it employs a quirky melody line reminiscent of "March Of the Siamese Children" by the US Rockets, which was launched by the theme to the South Bank Show originally from originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I., which the Vultures also covered as "Motor Booty Beach."

Montego Moon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soft 'n' roll, with liquid chords and island memories at every turn. "Montego Moon" is quite pretty.

Diamond Fish dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing lead guitar and shimmering vibrato rhythm guitar over tribal drums and moody bass. This is so distant and haunting, it's almost scary, yet it is very appealing.

Sleepy Time dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nodding off while the world goes by... a pleasant afternoon siesta for your inner soul. Soft, islandic, and nearly floating.

Italian In The Old West dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This catches you and keeps you... a rolling melody line and relentless thumping beat, punctuated by occasional grindy chords. It makes me grin. I expected something in the spaghetti western vein, but alas this is merely a catchy guitar instro with a really intriguing beat.

The Claw dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There are several songs called "The Claw," and this is another. It pumps along in a too riffy vein, though it is catchy enough.

Envicta dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mystical, like a sub exotica piece, with liquid guitar and pumping beat. Stop-start changes and grindy chords set apart the verses, which are pretty and surfable. A very cool track.

Michele dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums slowly build the fire for "Michele." Tropical and inviting, like the song's namesake must be. Such a flirty tune, with catchy whammy chords and a too-cool riff.

Switchblade Comb dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the tune the Neptunes donated to KFJC for Gnarly Reef. This is more tribal and less power punched. The vibrato throb and tribal drums, along with the deluxe melody line, hint of Link Wray on a ten foot face. Great stuff!

The Thirteenth Floor dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Choppy and punched up with a frat boy chord assault, "The Thirteenth Floor" is very surfable and tends towards the grodie side of the street.