Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Star and Key of the Indian Ocean - Rock 'n' Roll Fiascodotdotdotdot
artworkStar and Key of the Indian Ocean is more than just an unusual name for a band. It's a sound borne of the deep throated rumble of the surf, with all the tribal energy and melody implied. Power, pleasure, and invention conspire with spies and bronze riders of the curl to create a fresh approach to the genre. This, their second release, also shows considerable growth and fuller sound. Worth seeking out. Much richer sound than on the last release, with reverb and a rock beat. Vocals include "Crystallized Fruit Girl," "Surfin' Loungeville," and the Nova's 1964 seminal garage surf monster.
Picks: Squad Bike, Johnny Guitar, Thessaloniki, Easy Tune, Surfari, 36 District, Haut Les Mains, Nasty Butt Twist, Mega Tsunami, Poisoned Coconuts, French Kiss, Tahiti Love, Surf Beat

Track by Track Review


Squad Bike dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the periphery of surf beat wise, but well reverbed and double picked, with glissandos and a gutsy riff. The melody line is very surfable, and the big chords splash along side the double picking well.

Johnny Guitar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track has a spy-ish sound, as well as an oceanic quality. A surf rhythm guitar's damped reverb carries the surfability. On the catchy side, with grumbly bass and drive "Johnny Guitar" is solid and just menacing enough. It is not the old Victor Young / Peggy Lee standard.

Thessaloniki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The shimmer of vibrato rings out across the surf as "Thessaloniki" rolls along on its way to the cove. A rock 'n' roll beat grumbles under a rising intensity. Solid track.

Easy Tune dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums a la the Breakers' "Jet Stream" launch this track. Some tweaky damped picking adds to the vintage Midwest sound. The surf rhythm and bass grumble complete the scene. This is a fine track!

Surfari dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' 1963 namesake epic "Surfari" is mean and rock solid. Deep throated reverb and double picked power abound. One fine cover.

36 District dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a plodding surf grumbler along the lines of Vistas' "No Return," but gutsier and deeper. Damped reverb, slow drama, and some flashy string swipes preceding long glissandos. Very cool!

Haut Les Mains dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy surf rhythm and a high lead guitar open into a throaty and somewhat grumpy surf tune. Solid double picking and menacing rumble. There's danger here boys and girls. "Haut Les Mains" coms in two parts, separated by a short silence.

Nasty Butt Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tuff drums and double picked lead guitar over a relentless beat. Vibrato twang chords and shimmer with menacing guitar. A fine track.

Mega Tsunami dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A too-long hot rod intro (almost a minute) eventually leads to a poundy surf thrash. While it's not really melodic, its trashy chords and reverb, coupled with it's double picked flailing, render it a demanding power trip.

Poisoned Coconuts dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The rhythm guitar opens, is augmented by the drums, and then the bass rumbles in too. This is pure riff rock surf rhythm... no melody, yet the early surf simplicity and reverb splash required. Very effective!

French Kiss, Tahiti Love dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

This is a playful, sorta Spanish song, with a slower pace and tropical feeling. Vibrato shimmer, rich surf tone, and a solid sense of adventure. Dramatic, delicate, pulsing, and a little spooky.

Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Unlisted, this is past a long silence at the end of "The Crusher." The sea shore sounds and yakking of party goers precede a "Surf Beat" intro. Surf riff rock with an eye on the tribal dance of the Rendezvous Ballroom. Fun and primal surf.