Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Special Agents - ...Play 'Serfbeat'dotdotdot
artworkThe Special Agents lurk in the dark shadows just out of site. The surf idiom is loosely present, while the organ dominates the scene in a carnival swirl of unusual sound. A blend of sixties soul instro, plodding, almost morose dirge, and spy flick ideas are brought together in an unusual way. This disc includes the first live track from this UK band. The Special Agents roll in an underworld. They are not for the trad fan.
Picks: Praying To The Special Agent, Death Probe, Serfbeat, Soul Agent, Her Majesty's Secret Surfers, The Lunar Sea, Go! Go! Go-Go Girl, Serfbeat

Track by Track Review


Praying To The Special Agent dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Opens with a scared little girl girl "Praying To The Special Agent." The track is a riff rock number with spy tones and lines. Not as melodic as I'd like, but nice glissandoes, solid rhythms, and tasteful playing.

Death Probe dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Right from the opening air raid siren, you know there's going to be danger. Led by the organ, "Death Probe" is a classy riff dominated track with a kind of dark carnival sound. The guitar is not prominent enough in the mix to be heard adequately over the organ, which is imaginatively swirled and twirled. Nice track.

Serfbeat dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

There's an opening sampled intro about wiping out threatening alternative when they endanger ordered society. "Serf Beat" is slow, moody, lumbering, and melodic. Darkness from the shadows of some evil surf subculture... surf nazis must die. No, it's not a play on Dick Dale's "Surf Beat."

Soul Agent dotdotdot
Spy (Instrumental)

Soul Agent is a fun track dominated by a spy riff played on organ. The metronomic beat and rhythm create an contrast to the white-soul sound of the keys. It reminds me at times of the house organs in silent theaters, yet is not antiquated. It's more about the playing style or something. Anyway, "Soul Agent" is a cool track that rides along side sixties soul instros pretty well.

Her Majesty's Secret Surfers dotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

You can just see Sean Connery on a longboard... well, maybe not. "Her Majesty's Secret Surfers" has a pleasant Spanish feel to the melody, or maybe a vacation in the tropics... some escape at any rate. This is melodic, moderately paced, relaxed, and quite cool... even the chorus.

The Lunar Sea dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Slow moody soundscapes ooze from the effected guitar swells as "The Lunar Sea" flows across the ocean's surface. This is really spooky,m and very cool indeed. Haunting, mysterious, ominous, and chilling. The keys are ghostly, and the careful use of stereo reverb in the mix places you in a huge place from which you may not escape. Excellent.

Go! Go! Go-Go Girl dotdotdot
Film (Instrumental)

Organ-a-go-go club sounds and small combo coolness. "Go! Go! Go-Go Girl" is riffy, but fun. The samples break up the repetition, creating a kind of film for your ears.

Serfbeat dotdotdotdot
Funeral Surf (Instrumental)

This live take of "Serfbeat" presents the Special Agents in a more electric setting. Guitar drives a gloomy death wave kind of funeral surf. I like this track best of all the goodies here.