Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaholics - Tiki-A-Go-Godotdot
artworkOhio's Surfaholics sport a great name, but play instro music that does not approach surf very often. Much of the material on this 1996 release is backtrack material with weak of no melody line, and the mix by veteran producer Don Dixon does not reflect an understanding of the surf genre, nor favorably display the songs in many cases. Too many tracks start with a soft guitar solo before evolving into riff rock, and others are borrowed melodies with no credit is given where it's due. Sorry to be so blunt, but I think this is just not very good from a surf perspective.
Picks: Ungowa, Frankensurfer, Big Rat Daddy, Smells Like Surfana, Mother's Worry, Swang 10, Get Lost, Toxic Beach, Habla Deville, Davinadagaga, Another Cloudy Day, Zombie Bolero, Ghost Of Dragster Beach, Pedal To The Metal, Dangerous Undertow

Track by Track Review


Ungowa
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

A sampled intro over wind and rain precedes tribal drums and riff rock chords and damped chops. With no melody or direction, the rhythm is not enough to support "Ungowa" beyond the first couple of lines.

Frankensurfer dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Chantays' "Pipeline" with a different lead line. The energy is good, and the intensity is fine, but writer's credit should be given where it's due. "Frankensurfer II" is much more surfy than the other material from this band.

Big Rat Daddy
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

Slowly the "3rd Man Theme" plays on a distant guitar. At one minute in, a thrashy jammy chord progression comes in.

Smells Like Surfana dotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

This just doesn't go anywhere. From the title, I expected something special. The rhythmic nature of the track was enticing at the beginning, but the developing song just never gets past the starting point, and is devoid of anything that might pass for a melody. Little more than a vocal backtrack, it just seems to go on ad infinitum. Sorry, but it's really quite disappointing.

Mother's Worry
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

Thumpy chord chops and rhythmic progressions play out in lieu of a melody. While it's a little dissonant, it's mostly dismissible. It just never develops into a song.

Swang 10
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

A fifties cool-for-cats bass line yields to a twangy bluesy fifties jam, a guitar boogie without enough melody to get beyond being just a collection of licks.

Get Lost dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Tasteful whammy chords hint of island adventures, and the melody riff is surfable, though the tone is eighties rock. It doesn't exactly develop into anything memorable, but it does have potential and a relentless beat.

Toxic Beach
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

A Henry Mancini progression repeated endlessly, with whammy twang and edge, but never developing into anything more than a progression.

Habla Deville dotdotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

A little aquatic Spanish charm is softly played as an intro, and then the thrashy double picked chord assault borrowed from Link Wray's "El Toro," but with less charm.

Davinadagaga dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A bit of exotica and surf whammy spin a progression that almost develops into a song. Not memorable at all.

Another Cloudy Day dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A soft moody guitar solo opens to a slightly moody edgy island tourist trap adventure. Pleasant, but unmemorable.

Zombie Bolero dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Long vibrato chords develop into an Enio Morricone inspired theme. It's dramatic and moody, and works pretty well. At a minute twenty, it becomes more cowboy chop twang, and loses some of its focus. As it speeds up again, it becomes more tribal and frantic. "Zombie Bolero" is among their better tracks.

Ghost Of Dragster Beach dotdotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

The engine revs, the tires squeal, and the choppy chords take the wrong turn right off the drag strip. Soon enough, Edvard Grieg' "The Hall Of The Mountain King" erupts from the guitar, as does Duke Ellington's "Caravan." This is fun, and the drums are tribal.

Pedal To The Metal dotdotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy whammy twang and chord circulation are not enough to make this into a memorable song, and the borrowed progression is just too derivative. Having said that, there's something infectious about this track.

Dangerous Undertow
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

The double picked lead riffs are more thrashy than melodic, and the echoed guitar loses definition in a way that hides the melody line, which is kinda "Zorba the Greek"-ish, until it's augmented with lines from "Telstar" and becomes "Out Of Limits."