Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Surf City Neptunes - Snappeddotdot
artworkLow key instrumentals cleanly recorded in a demo mix that generally emasculates the power beneath the knob rider's lack of understanding of the genre. The mix often presents too much kick drum and an overbearing and thin bass, while relegating the lead guitar to far right and too low a level. This should be remixed by someone who understands instrumental surf before being released. Likewise, about half of the tracks seem more like backtracks awaiting a lead melody. Rhythms without focus.
Picks: Landlocked, The Indicator, Snapped, North Side, Whammy Bar, Thruster, Delamination, Toes On The Nose, Secret Spot, Willow Creek, Snaked, Impact Zone, Bitchen, Drifter

Track by Track Review


Landlocked dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a nicely written track, with good dynamics and many changes. The lead line is excellent, even infectious, and is complimented by the arrangement, but undermined by the amateur mix.

The Indicator dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This relatively trad number relies on low notes and rhythm more than melody. It would likely exhibit quite a bit of power if the lead was actually featured front and center and the mix cleaned up. The playing is solid.

Snapped dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The album's title track is a moody piece with an uncomplimentary and undynamic mix. Not melodic exactly, more a progression in the key of generic surf backtrack.

North Side dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tasty reverbed guitar, a watery image, and then an uninteresting progression with too many borrowings from predecessors.

Whammy Bar dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Whammy dips accent nearly every line, which is a fifties instro styled progression. It needs a lead melody and more forceful production.

Thruster dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Thruster" opens with a promising progression, and then presents a progression line via the lead guitar that isn't memorable enough. There seems to be a lack of drive on the band's part, made worse by the dreadful mix and cardboard drum sound.

Delamination dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An excellent title, a dribbling noodling surf riff, a lot of flair, but not enough of a melody. This may be the high point of the disc, with obvious fire on lead guitar lurking beneath uncomplimentary engineering. If any track here will bring me back, it will be this one.

Toes On The Nose dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythm progressions, moody imagery... almost doesn't arrive, then finally a cool melody line and good lead guitar work. This is not the Eddie and the Showmen original.

Secret Spot dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

James Bond goes to the beach... borrowed spy riffs, fifties progressions, a bit of angular arranging and drama, and a generally interesting feel. Yet, it didn't stick in RAM after listening.

Willow Creek dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Willow Creek" grumbles about the condition of the surf , thrashes with a few speedy glissandoes, and is a little optimistic as well. This would likely be a fine track if well mixed. The lead guitar lines are tuff and the backtrack writing supportive.

Snaked dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Whammy liquefies the afternoon sounds of this track. The body of the track is chord progression dominated like some fifties instros. It seems to lack focus.

Impact Zone dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Solid low-E surf rhythms and chorded lead guitar work promise but don't deliver, ending up more like a backtrack awaiting a melody.

Bitchen dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Reverb aside, this is a bouncy and playful low-E double picked number that sounds like it wants to mean, but presents only faux edge via the mix. This is another tune that might well shine with a decent remix.

Drifter dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The rhythm guitar opener and pattern are refreshingly new, but the lead doesn't really deliver a "voice" of the song. Too much sameness.