Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Coasters featuring Naka Shigeo - Super Runaboutdotdotdot
artworkFrom the title, I expected more music like the Runabout soundtrack. It was not really to be. The Surf Coasters are moving in a more commercial direction, and their sound seems to be disappearing in the haze of big label acts, not that they are on a big label. Leader/guitarist Naka Shigeo has no shortage of talent, and his band continues to be pumped and high energy. It's just that the styles here have little surf left and lots of the sort of guitar hero wizardry pioneered by Uli Roth (Scorpions) and Eddie Van Halen, and made trite by Gary Hoey. There are a couple of spectacular ewes amongst the sheep, like the Link Wray nod "Scramble," "Delivery Boogie," and "Escape From Alcatraz."
Picks: Up and Down, Escape From Alcatraz, , Delivery Boogie, BART, Scramble, F.O.G., Twin Peaks, Joe Montana, Candy ~ Blues For M ~

Track by Track Review

Up and Down dotdotdot
Metal Surf (Instrumental)

A wailing siren of electronic sound opens before a tirade of metallic power assaults the senses. It's funny how much more melodic quality a piece requires when reverb is not the primary effect. The riff is powerful, and there are lots of textural and effect changes as always with the Surf Coasters, but the metal guitar noodling detracts from the surf roots and leaves only a pale Uli Roth wannabe in it's wake.

Escape From Alcatraz dotdotdotdot
Metal Surf (Instrumental)

Surf Coasters chunk is in control, and the style is like "Intruder." High powered wave shreddin' assaultive and pumped. The immense intensity of the track is countered by the playful tweakiness of the first half of the break, followed by a bit of a let down commercial verse before returning to the fire of the main theme.


Delivery Boogie dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Take a little Cadillac Angels, add a dash of the Big Guitars From Texas, spread it over a dirt bike rampage through the Ozarks, and you'll have a vague idea what this sounds like. Very fun, hickoidal, and puffed with high energy. It ends way too immediately. Very cool.

BART dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

Being all in caps, I don't know if we're talking Simpson or Bay Area Rapid Transit. The middle eastern break is very cool, and the main theme is spy-like, bouncy and infectious. Majorly chunky and sub-metallic. Solid chunk, thank you.

Scramble dotdotdotdot
Metal Surf (Instrumental)

Eggs or bikes, either way, this grand "Rumble" spin-off rocks solidly with big guitar charm and edge, and plinky fun. It may be derivative, but it's reverent and really big. Quite a cool track. The funky tweaked break just makes you cry for more. If the "Speedy's Comin'" period Scorpions were to back Link Wray, it might come out like this. Intense, insane, guitar flash laden, and powerful.

F.O.G. dotdotdot
Metal Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy thundering chop chunk post surf grind. Its simplicity isn't quite overcome by its arrangement. The break however, is a spectacular percussion and chunk fest, with lots of style and power.

Twin Peaks dotdotdot
Metal Surf (Instrumental)

Thick and chunky, "Twin Peaks" rolls between verses with nice changes and style. The Eddie Angel style main riff is punctuated with arty verses that flow like a river through an open delta. Some screaming Van Halen licks separate the sections. It's both simple and complicated, with so many different changes. There's not even a hint of the TV series, but maybe it's an ode to the twin peaks of the female body, I don't know.

Joe Montana dotdotdot
Metal (Instrumental)

Jeez, the guitar hero Buddy Miles/Jimi Hendrix and Uli Roth influences all really clear in this Gary Hoey like number. Much too been-there-done-that for me, except for the deluxe percussion in the break.

Candy ~ Blues For M ~ dotdotdot
Movie Music (Instrumental)

Floating easy sad film music, melodic and moody, with commercial guitar tone. There's no doubt about the playing skill, it's just not the sort of thing you'd expect in surfland.