Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Sonars - 2003 demosdotdotdot
artworkThese are demos from the Sonars. They are mixed in a cruddy demo lo-fi stereo, yet they display a very creative band doing new and interesting things with surf classics. they really need to recut these tracks in a good studio, because there's a lot going on here that deserves hearing.
Picks: Deep See Detective, Mr. Moto, Nitro, Penetration, Pipeline, Saguaro Safari, Squad Car, Surf Rider, Veils

Track by Track Review


Deep See Detective dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy chop and stomp riff rockin' danger here. You can imagine an old-fashioned diving suit no longer tethered by a severed airline. Dark and chunky.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs' "Mr. Moto" gets a fairly strait treatment, complete with sax lines and a garagy feel. Some guitar lines are altered a bit, but mostly it bows at the alter of the original. The Theremin in the break makes it seem kinda scary!

Nitro dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Murky thrash rockin' Dick Dale instro with heavy assault energy, and lots going on. It's too bad this is such a trashy demo, 'cuz the arrangement is very cool, with lots of stuff going on, and inventive changes, like sax and strange whammy.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

As required, the Sonars play "Penetration" with significant reverence, though they use long distortion lead guitar. The sax adds danger to the mix.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy chunk and stroll, and an added sax bring edge to the Chantays' "Pipeline." Some vibrato shimmer, lots of energy, and a tasteful arrangement. The haunting break is very cool!

Saguaro Safari dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow and very pretty intro with a hauntingly sad melody line. The vibrato second guitar adds shimmer to an already fine melody line. "Saguaro Safari" calls to the sea with a sunset image and very nice guitar work. I like this a lot.

Squad Car dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzz guitar thrashes out the riff while the lead guitar rips and shreds on the melody. Lots of fire here, with a siren and everything, as well as sax lines not unlike Chas Stewart's original. Sampled police calls are mixed in like the Packards did in the eighties. Very cool!

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surf Rider" is given a big power tour, while retaining the fluidity of the Lively Ones' version. Pretty close in style to the original in many ways, yet modern and garagy.

Veils dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Veils" is a wash of sounds and gurgle, haunted guitar lines fading in and out of the wash as if they are riding on the desert winds. Dark, spooky, and murky, yet somehow attractive.