Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Spy-Fi - Music For: Spies, Thighs and Private Eyes Volume Onedotdotdot
artworkRich, almost lush production and attention to detail characterize volume one of this well executed project. Before this, Spy-Fi have only issued a pair of cassettes, one demos, and one live radio show. It's clear they spent a lot of time getting to this point. Little surf, but some very cool instrumental work.
Picks: James Bond Theme / Goldfinger, Secret Agent Man, Penetration, Town Without Pity, Neptune, Dick Tracy, Persuasion, Reid's Situation, Mother's Worry, Batman Theme, Experiment In Terror, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Telstar

Track by Track Review


James Bond Theme / Goldfinger dotdotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

A modern edged guitar, vintage spy keys, round bass, vibe-like keys in the lead. This is a very listenable and enjoyable version of these often-paired John Barry classics. Different enough to be interesting, reverent enough to be well within reach. Some tasteful guitar licks, especially the big slow whammy chords.

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

You can almost see Patrick Magoohan running from the evil empire's henchmen. Edgier than the Johnny Rivers theme to the US distribution of the British series Danger Man, this holds up well, rendering a timeless accounting of the stealth world of spies and mysterious goings on. Phil Sloane's TV theme is done with less lounge and more of a country-rock sound.

Penetration dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Based on the Ventures' In Space arrangement, but tweaked even more, this is big and thick and on the edge of strange. Pretty cool!

Town Without Pity dotdotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Gene Pitney sang of cruel gossipy holier than thou small town scum. Spy-Fi extricate the music, leave the story behind, and uncover the hidden instrumental lurking within. Major drama and tension, with lead guitar tone like the Berzerkers used to achieve in Dino's Marshall stack days. Suave and abrasive.

Neptune dotdotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

"Neptune" starts out with haunting distant notes and long tones coming and going. The rhythm, when it arrives, is simple yet catchy. There's a very suave song within this softly swaying track. Spy riffs reinterpreted, and slightly off balance sounds. Intriguing.

Dick Tracy dotdotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Big tom toms, big whammy chords, big guitar leads, organ swirl, and tuff drums and smooth bass thunder. A dozen bands have picked up on this song, each giving it a new sound that is strictly their own. Big edge, and lots of coolness.

Persuasion dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

"Persuasion" is a pretty song with haunting organ and a well thought out arrangement. The drums are interesting at times, though they ride a little high in the mix. The subtle guitar work is quite nice, as is the keyboard's haunting tones.

Reid's Situation dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

"Reid's Situation" is a semi-soft song with a good melody line and a thick yet spatial sound. Not exactly moody, but on the cool side. Very nice track.

Mother's Worry dotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Mommy's wearing her worry apron as the boys are past due. More a rhythm and jam than a song I think, and a lot less interesting than the other material here, despite the bridges interpreted from "Penetration."

Batman Theme dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Neil Hefty's odd little TV theme. It's been done a lot, but not like this. Despite the arrangement, the song is still just a cute little riff. It likely works well live, but on record seems too repetitious in virtually every case. Still, this is more diversified arrangement wise than most, keeping from getting dismissed.

Experiment In Terror dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's spooky "Experiment In Terror" was first tortured out of the lounge world by the Ventures. Aside from Davie Allan's version, this is probably the most interesting.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

Lots of bands have covered this TV theme. many arrangements have graced it's re-deliverance. This is one of the more interesting arrangements, but I still don't like the song.

Telstar dotdotdot
Spy World (Instrumental)

The camera is ready, the photographer calls out "Cheese!" Cool damped rhythm guitar, quirky keys, and swirling organ. Not the least bit thick like the Tornados' hit, but with the organ lead, it certainly has the feel... The guitar calls to the sky, giving it a sense of propriety. This classic Joe Meek tune has certainly been done a lot, but seldom as well, especially with so much cheese on top. It's like a suaver (more suave) inversion of the way the Ultras used to do it.