Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Sonic Screwdriver - 5ive-Headed Surf Monsterdotdot
artworkThis is the first release from South Dakota's Sonic Screwdriver. This disc is all covers, with many being from The Atlantics and Los Mel-tones. It is The Atlantics material that the band does best, with the rest being more than demos, but just not very engaging or interesting.
Picks: Surf's Up, Flight Of The Surf Guitar, Reef Break, Mission To Mazatlan, Dawn Patrol, Diamond Head, Big Swell, Incognito, Atlantic Echo

Track by Track Review


Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a modest cover of Phil Sloane's TV theme. Great for a summer bar-b-cue, but it really does not stand out among the large number of versions out there.

Walk, Don't Run dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty tame cover of Johnny Smith's "Walk, Don't Run." The drums are pretty ambient sounding, and the arrangement is straight 1960 Ventures.

In The Shadows dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Atlantics' "In The Shadows" is nicely done in a modest Shadows kind of way. Definitely enjoyable and fit for a leisurely afternoon on the lagoon.

Surf's Up dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really cover of Martin Cilia's "Surf's Up." There's warmth and charm in the performance and guitar tone, and the haunting keys add depth.

Flight Of The Surf Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Flight of the Surf Guitar" rocks! It doesn't quite have the abandon that The Atlantics delivered, but it nonetheless is very fun and enjoyable.

Surf Before Sunrise dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Los Mel-tones' "Surf Before Sunrise" is fluent and fun, with leads traded between organ and guitar. While it doesn't stand out, it's very pleasant.

Reef Break dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This The Atlantics cover is very nice. There's solid energy and drive, and the playing is good. Big chords and open power.

Mission To Mazatlan dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mission To Mazatlan" moves with easy energy and slight spy-like feelings. The groove really carries you all the way through. This is another Mel Waldorf song from his days fronting Los Mel-tones.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chantays' "Pipeline" is modestly done, with the primary variant being the drums. It doesn't drive, but the chords ring and the mood is almost there.

Wipe Out dot
Surf (Instrumental)

The drums really don't make it here. None of the power or liquid flair of Ron Wilson's style, and fairly stuff guitar just keep "Wipe Out" from becoming whole. The title is two words, not one word like the liners use, as the one word title is the Merrell Fankhauser song.

Dawn Patrol dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Martin Cilia's lovely "Dawn Patrol" is done with ease and charm. The smoothness and tonal richness are just right.

A Day In The Life Of A Private Eye dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mile's Corbin's "A Day In The Life Of A Private Eye" suggests his tone, but lacks his phrasing altogether.

Diamond Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a modest version of Danny Hamilton's "Diamond Head." Relatively soft and easy, but also satisfying. Nothing special, but quite nice until the keys come along, which seem to be really out of place tonally on this track.

Big Swell dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Atlantics' "Big Swell" is done with a softer and lower energy sound, but it has some very nice moments, especially the stinging whammy chords.

James Bond Theme dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Classic film score done with a moody feel and gritty guitar. This is probably the most modern tonally of all the tracks here, but it's also not particularly interesting.

Incognito dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Mel Waldorf composition, "Incognito" is fun and nice to hear covered, but if you're familiar with the original, you likely will find it a bit stiff at times by comparison. That said, it's a nice track that's an easy, fun listen.

Atlantic Echo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Military drums and Euro guitar styling pay homage to Martin Cilia's song. This is an easy track to drift with, pleasant and fluid.

Mysterious Mambo
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets' "Mysterious Mambo" shimmers with haunted romance in the key of sad. Shallow tremolo creates the sadness. very pretty.