Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Spies Who Surf - dotdotdotdot
artworkThis 1993 release by Chicago based Spies Who Surf is a classic mix of jazz and surf. very good musicianship and writing, well produced tracks, and interesting ideas. Some infectious material, some acquired taste, but all very well done.
Picks: Intro: Walk Of The Zombies, Spy Beach, Cyanide Junkie, Suicide Spree, Destroy All Pollution, Evacuation Earth 2000, Boss X Blowout, Stakeout, Calling All Martians, Xenophobia, Keys To Her Ferrari, The Creep, Black Earth, Surf Nazi Clambake, Necrophiliac

Track by Track Review


Intro: Walk Of The Zombies dotdot
Horror Film (Instrumental)

The crackle and pop of the vinyl soundtrack slush...

Spy Beach dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

A long glissando opens this string bending number. The melody is very good, as is the playing. It's catchy and quirky without being silly. The gimmickry adds to the interest, and the surfworthiness factor is high. The guitar shimmers and warbles. Quite cool.

Cyanide Junkie dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Cyanide Junkie" is a detective whammy bar water logged Earl Hagen-esq TV theme kinda tune. The horns are brash and fitting.

Suicide Spree dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Part one of the Ecology Trilogy is a dissonant number with great drums and the uneasy sound of a nervous breakdown under pressure. The insane damped reverbed noodleage in the middle is priceless inmate bouncing off the walls of the asylum mayhem.

Destroy All Pollution dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Solid surf beat under an intensely whammied detective/spy theme assault punctuated with disturbed guitar bashing cacophony. Quite an experience.

Evacuation Earth 2000 dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Evacuation Earth 2000" features a smooth melancholy melody, placed against a rocking backtrack at twice the pace. It has an adventurous open road feel and a bit of drama too. Great writing and spirited playing.

Boss X Blowout dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

A nightmare backdrop lurks in this mathematically correct track. Structured like a jazz epic, "Boss X Blowout" is an acquired taste, yet not uneasy on the ears.

Stakeout dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Stakeout" is a sultry surf/spy thing with a great melody, long sustain, and subtle harmonics. It's haunting water front sound and deluxe rhythm track are perfect for the melody line. Great track.

Calling All Martians dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Calling All Martians" sports fine double picking, quirky effects, bottleneck, and a magnetic sound. The big solo guitar whammy bar break is way cool... such deep whammy dips. Really fun. I'm not sure what they are being called for, but those pesky Martians are expected on aisle nine near the blue light.

Xenophobia dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

An effected narration opens this jazz guitar exercise in fear. There may be nothing to fear but fear itself, but this fear is... well... fearful. Between the jazzy paralyzed by anxiety verses are delightful surf verses that well should be surf songs in their own right.

Keys To Her Ferrari dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

A small club jazz combo number in the Wes Montgomery mold, hinting of classic CTI releases. The bass work is excellent on this track.

The Creep dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Light jazz with a beautiful soft floating melody. "The Creep" is a sad bluesy number, delicately played and accented with lots of artful string bending. It has a combo sound with a low rumbly organ underneath.

Black Earth dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Black Earth" is a bebop sorta sax solo exercise, with a sassy sax and saucy guitar, incredible bass, and fine drums. It has a unity about it, with every instrument in its own space. very well crafted.

Surf Nazi Clambake dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

This is a great track, surfy and Ventures inspired. The bouncy beat is great, and the melody riff is quite friendly. The chorus-like break is a little strange, but overall, this is a really fine track with cool damped double picking, delicately delivered with an infectious energy.

Necrophiliac dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

"Necrophiliac" uses a second guitar playing the same line as the lead guitar in Armageddon's "Buzzard." Over this nervous foundation is a splashy jazzy guitar backed by great great surf drums and bass. This is quite a cool track.