Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Splashback - Changing Tidesdotdotdotdot
artworkSplashback's second release is significantly stronger than the first, which is really saying something. The band has matured as a unit, and the differences between the two guitarists' writing continues to combine into splendid new works. Lots of trad roots, and a sense of now as well. Recommended.
Picks: Hot Curl, Faultline, Distant Shores, Loco-Motive, El Sereno, Climb To The Top, Wavechaser, Headin' Out, Sandtrap, Beyond The Blue, First Wave, Midnight Rush, Surf Blaster, Water Wand, Miss Shift, Nite Creatures

Track by Track Review


Hot Curl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hot Curl" is an edgie hard driving instro with surf roots and modern sounds. It has the ring of a Paul Johnson tune a la the Packards is some ways, but is distinctly Splashback. The similarity is in the melodic rolling lead lines delivered with distortion. It is also pure Dana Vincent... a great rockin' track.

Faultline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the trad side, Dana's "Faultline" rides the surf line fully. An excellent melodic riff, beautiful tone, and a delicate artful end. "Faultline" is a spectacular track.

Distant Shores dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bill Epps' melodic sense is quite different from Dana's. His melodies are more like dribbling rivulets of pure water. Crystalline playing and sparkling guitar lines... "Distant Shores" is excellent!

Loco-Motive dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Dana Vincent tune, with a warm melody and an adventurous sense of space and time. Warm like a spring day, smooth and polished, "Loco-Motive" is just plain cool.

El Sereno dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Splashback has been playing this for many years in their live sets. It's immediately apparent that it comes from the pen of Bill Epps, with its stellar beauty and pristine guitar. It's long been a fave of mine, and now that it's finally on disc, well... enjoy! This fine tune also appears by the Vara-tones on their great CD.

Climb To The Top dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The band has been playing this for a long time. It's gradually developed into a rich structure with maybe Paul Johnson influences. Beautifully played, this is a little sad and moody... must be from the loneliness of the "Climb To The Top."

Wavechaser dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wavechaser" sports a fine melody line, with a solid structure beneath. Some of the smoothness and writing hints of Paul Johnson, yet it is freshly warm and infectious. There's joy amid these notes, boys and girls. Excellent delicate track.

Headin' Out dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dribbly surf glissandoes, richly reverbed lead guitar, delicately loud sound, and Bill Epps trademark big time crunchy surf monster sound... yup, that says it.

Sandtrap dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The rhythm's the thing... restrained and delicate, moderately captivating, warm and round... almost makes you wanna get stuck in a "Sandtrap." The performance is letter perfect.

Beyond The Blue dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This utterly gorgeous Bill Epps tune is richly Spanish flavored, tropically breezed, and lazily drifting... a magnificent sojourn to an undiscovered cove. Very pretty.

First Wave dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dana Vincent's "First Wave" has been in their set forever... it's about time it got the perfect studio treatment. The rolling second guitar lines are so very cool under this sparkling melody. It's forward looking with a rear view reverence.

Midnight Rush dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The opening chords remind me of the Berzerkers' "Can't Trust Myself," but the textures and melody are completely different. "Midnight Rush" gradually warmly drifts through a gently sensual space with just a tad bit of vulnerability. Very nice.

Surf Blaster dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Both Splashback and the Vara-tones have been playing this Bill Epps tune for quite some time. One of Bill's strengths is his ability to take his own song into different lineups and give it variant treatments that render it anew. This is delicate and pristine where the Vara-tones' version is more energy driven. The dribbling glissandoes here give you goose bumps, as do the damped line. Excellent!

Water Wand dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Water Wand" is a playful number with a grin and a sense of restrained exuberance. Really nice phrasing... The tone and the ringing sustain give it a gentlemanly roundness while only slightly veiling the summer surf below.

Miss Shift dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Almost wiggly whammy warms up this almost classical feeling melody... Quite nice.

Nite Creatures dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pure trad... whammy... dribbling guitar... surf rhythms... and that recognizable Bill Epps sense of structure. A mere wisp of the fragrance of Jon and the Nightriders. Really nice track!