Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - !Viva! Los Straitjacketsdotdotdotdot
artworkAnother grand release from our friends from Nashville. Their sound continues to be pristine, well crafted, humorous, and great listening. They still span the chicken bop to surf spectrum. Brilliant production from Ben Vaughn.
Picks: Cavalcade, The Casbah, Wrong Planet, Lonely Apache, Outta Gear, Pacifica, Espionage, Swampfire, Lawnmower, Lurking In The Shadows, Brains and Eggs, Venturing Out, Tsunami, Nightmare In Monte Cristo

Track by Track Review

Cavalcade dotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

The best cover of this song is from Spiral Jetty. This is too heroic, too spotlight, and not funky enough. This is ok, just too predictable.

The Casbah dotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Vince GuaraldiÕs most familiar tune from the first PeanutÕs TV special. Gary Hoey delivers a powerhouse version, with none of the subtlety, but plenty of energy, like a minor Jimi Hendrix clone interpretation. ItÕs enjoyable, and not too long, but still a bit too guitar hero for my taste. The surf arrangement from JFA is by far the best rock interpretation of this song.

Wrong Planet dotdotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Watery scenes from the gloomy side of the sea. Slower and moodier, this is actually a listenable and visual track, though itÕs entirely too long. After the lengthy intro, it swells to a howling evil thunder and shrill scream that might have come from the Scorpions in Ō74. The more delicate work just past that is enjoyable. ItÕs a very pompous track, but has more art to it than others here. A little less festival guitar stuff would keep it from losing the thread. It is an effective track.

Lonely Apache dot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Semi jazzy riffs, thick power trio sound, and too much noodle with too little melody.

Outta Gear dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The chickens are swaying to this rooster-on-the-walk monster, infectious and tongue in cheek delightful.

Pacifica dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a stunningly beautiful coastal song, with shear imagery and almost Polynesian twang. The track gives immediate warmth of the sun and a sense of a slight breeze on the face. Stunningly fluid track.

Espionage dot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Heavy sludge metal version of the Surfaris hit. ItÕs been done to death, even if you just consider metal version.

Swampfire dotdotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Studio track, with a softer, more fluid sound and more arty sense about it. Still not very melodic, and definitely prog based. ItÕs an easily listened to track, but not memorable.

Lawnmower dotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

This is a reggae and sludge mix of the Focus hit. Studio fretboard fingering show off.

Lurking In The Shadows dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A double picked fiery lead accompanied by a dry second guitar and a thumpy bass and drums. Strong delivery, with a thick sound. This track wails, with a fast delivery and plenty of energy.

Brains and Eggs dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A thick and unusual version of the Bill Justis hit, but not very interesting. Chunky and full of screams from the band.

Venturing Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track employs a funky progression, is R&B oriented R&B, and has a fairly non surf melody line. Not very interesting.

Tsunami dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Strange is right. Launching from a variation on the Twilight Zone intro notes, this track visually screams "weird." It is somewhat like a cross between the Rumblers' "Boss" and the Rod Serling classic television show. It's not complicated at all, but is quite attractive, in a curiosity way. It also has a lasting effect, and stands up to repeated listenings. Quite unusual.

Nightmare In Monte Cristo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Screaming engines, squealing tires, and thundering tom toms launch this high energy pounder. The melody is minimal, but the chord progression is unusual. Infectious and spirited.