Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Space Rangers - Ready To Take Offdotdotdot
artworkReady To Take Off is a lot like all those spy songs you've always heard, with some spaghetti western edges and haunted lounge background. Some really cool tracks, and some excellent, serious arranging.
Picks: Mr. Lou, Gypsy Jive, Valle De La Luna, Taipeh Tower Chase (The Night Inspector Wang Died), Speedway, Soleil Rouge, La Magia Verde, Shadow Magic, Papermoon

Track by Track Review


Mr. Lou dotdotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Silken liquid notes dramatically flow in front of swelling symbols and bass before launching into a fine instro with an almost Middle Eastern melody structure. "Mr. Lou" is a marvelous track with an infectious back track. The organ runs an ambient wash and the break is kind of a respite from the song. Many changes, from long notes to double picking, and hand claps. Contrary to what the title might suggest, there are only fleeting references to "Miserlou."

Gypsy Jive dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Brittle chords introduce a melody inspired by an ancient exotic theme. A big rock sound seems more dominant than the surf influences. Whammy chords bring it back to surf, and the arrangement is much like "Mr. Lou" in the way it progresses.

Valle De La Luna dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

"Valley Of The Moon" is a slow and haunting track with a lovely melody line and very pretty chords. The voice serving as a chorus is in reference to spaghetti westerns, as is the use of horns. Dramatic and well developed.

Sneak A Peak dotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

The hand clap rhythm track and the organ speak go-go, while the guitar hints slightly of surf. "Sneak A Peak" is more or less a riff rocker stretched out by a progressing arrangement. It's a fairly pedestrian track that didn't stick with me after listening. Very well done, just not my cup of tea.

Taipeh Tower Chase (The Night Inspector Wang Died) dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Dark tone, rich whammy chords, spy lines, undulating bass, and great drums drive this track. It's not very complex, but the concept works really well. The organ is subdued enough to not be overbearing. Again with the handclaps, an arrangement element that's overused in these tracks. There's lots of drama here.

Speedway dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Big guitar noodles out an opening before launching a raucous track. The organ seems kind of cheesy, while the rest of the track romps through a spy network. Big stinging whammy chords add intensity.

Murder On The Sixth Tee dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Rock chords, big rock drama, rock organ swirl, and a stereo typical spy riff add up to a decent espionage track. The drums are rock solid. Beyond that, "Murder On The Sixth Tee" is pretty predictable, but it's also well formulated for the mystery suggested in its title.

Soleil Rouge dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mixture of surf guitar and moody spaghetti western. Sullen and very smooth, "Red Sun" is an enjoyable track, and even though I generally do not like organ in instro guitar music, it isn't too loungy and suggests espionage. This is haunting and moody, and very strong.

La Magia Verde dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

"The Green Magic" runs from a harmonica to dramatic pomp before crossing into spy adventure. It's intense in the whammy chords, and a bit swirly too. The intensity of the drama is very strong, and the melody quite good.

Das Model dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Kraftwerk's all too often covered "Das Model" is interesting when the lead guitar takes off over very strong drums and deep bass. There are a number of great surf covers out there. This is just not among them, but for that's because the keys seem to be at odds with the arrangement, though they nod to the original.

Good Morning, Svetlana dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Whammy chords and infectious riffs bounce atop low note organ that supports the arrangement very well. The drums and bass rock. "Good Morning, Svetlana" is engaging for a while. Its relentless riffology lost me after a few verses. Very Euro, not very surf.

Shadow Magic dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

In a Shadows kind of guitar mold, stretched out by delay, this beautifully simple riff seems very effective. The arrangement features strong blending of elements and organ used effectively as a compliment to the melody, which is mysterious and spatial. I found that this grew on me, which is a compliment given my general disinterest that guitar sound. Very enjoyable.

Papermoon dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very slow piece with sweeping guitar lines that hint at islands and sunsets. The drums are big, and the keys well mixed in. "Papermoon" is pretty, but a bit intense for romance. It has a Santo and Johnny feel to it.

Der Moblierte Herr dotdotdot
Spaghetti Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Shadowsy guitar swims above sequenced percussion for a relatively backdrop sound. Perhaps the difficulty is the disconnect between the island imagery and the lounge. The break is more slow rock in nature. "The Furnished Gentleman" is lush and evocative in a film score way. The keys are bell like, and the percussion sounds sequenced. Is this from the soundtrack of the film?