Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf A's - Instrumentally Illdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Surf A's are a great Dutch band. Their sound is not trad, but relies on it as a foundation from which to launch new sounds and ideas. An excellent CD.
Picks: Instrumentally Ill, Staccato Shimitzu, The Element Blue, The King Said Yellow, Skurff, Cheops, Colour Coat 2000, Nozzle Flame, Holy Chakka's, Rapid Randy Racer, N'est pas une Chanson, Crash, Dale, 7" Havanna, Roomservice, Synaptic Twizzle, Bontempi Kiko, Diabolic

Track by Track Review


Instrumentally Ill dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stomperrific surf with an intense drive and a menacing riff. The title would have you believe will be demented, but alas, it's not. It is well powered and punchy.

Staccato Shimitzu dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The gong opens the track. The "Surf Beat" chords chunk out. A gypsy melody line lays over the top. It;s not staccato at all. The break is lovely and fluid, while the balance of the track is rhythmic and choppy, perhaps suggesting the title.

The Element Blue dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fast double picked dribbling lead guitar playing a slight melody with a bit of sadness to it. There are actually two guitars playing the same melody in different octaves and with different tone, one reverbed and one dry. It makes for an interesting listen.

The King Said Yellow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The surf gently opens this fine track. The whammy chords foretell of island adventure, while the moody Euro melody dances over a top down rhythm track. Pleasing and fluid, and surfy.

Skurff dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Skurff" you say! "There's a place in France, where the women wear no pants," or so I learned this in the third grade. It's a fine surf treatment of a traditional song. It's been done before, most notably by the Surf Raiders as "Egyptian Surf." Infectious and way fun.

Cheops dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine middle eastern tune, in the mold of Jim Thomas (Mermen) or Tom Stanton (Surf Kings), but more traditionally arranged. Great edge, mystical melody line, and ample drama. I find I come back to this track most frequently. The intense guitar, the desert imagery, the swaying belly dancer, the oasis... it's all too clear.

Colour Coat 2000 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moderately driven tune with a tasteful riff and a bit of edge. The style lies somewhere between surf and gypsy. The tom tom breaks are excellent.

Nozzle Flame dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a hint of "Moment of Truth" and a fresh melody line, "Nozzle Flame" burns on the horizon like a fiberglass rocket. Double picked and richly chorded, this is a solid tune.

Holy Chakka's dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ska surf, double picked with liquid glissandoes, and infectious rhythm. "Holy Chakka's" seems somewhat tongue in cheek, but mostly just small wave fun.

Rapid Randy Racer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Traditional surf second guitar, excellent lead riffs, lots of big power from the contrasting rising feedback. This is quite different! Dig the simple use of feedback like a buzz saw race car taking flying by. The breaks remind me slightly of Nick Haeffner's "The Master." It ends in a frenzied swirl of ever increasing speed through to screaming racer's exit. Wow!

N'est pas une Chanson dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gently double picked, romantically inclines, slightly sad, and swimming in liquid intent. Very nice.

Crash dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Creations' obscuro driven with passion. The two guitars double pick with fury while the drums pound. Easily among the best covers of "Crash" on disk. Plenty of reverb kicks and tons of pick dust.

Dale dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low-E driven surf riff power, perhaps inspired by Dick Dale. The anger and edge are clear, and the glissandoes quite pleasing.

7" Havanna dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A long narrative interchange about cigars or something introduces the track... I don't know for sure, it's not in English. The tune is a fine Spanish / spaghetti western influenced piece, with acoustic guitar accompaniment and a warm melody line. This drips imagery, and has a lot of staying power. The performance is top drawer.

Roomservice dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Double picked chow, choppy delivery, thundering tom toms, and many disparate elements that were a surprise to hear together. The drop in tempo into the fluid midsection is both unnerving and magical, as is the rise afterwards. A very interesting track with Spanish underpinnings.

Synaptic Twizzle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A relentless double picked second guitar under an intense lead accented with big whammy. "Synaptic Twizzle" is dramatic and powerful.

Bontempi Kiko dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What a cool track. The melody straddles the line between middle eastern and gypsy with rhythmic westernizations. The damped guitar work is very tasty. The track stands up well to multiple listenings. Very nice.

Diabolic dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ghostly narration of haunted happenings, a menacing guitar, and mostly dark moods and nervousness. It certainly is "Diabolic" in it's relentless assault on your peace of mind. Punctuated by devilish voices.