Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Coasters - Outside Breakdotdotdotdotdot
artworkWhat an amazing album Outside Break is. This is a very powerful and stunningly good release. You already know I am a huge Surf Coasters fan, having been the first to play them on the air in America, and having hosted and recorded them live twice. That said, this album really rocks! They have added some intense new vibrations to their sound and direction, while keeping their music very surf in feel and power. Outside Break is highly recommended, but if you have a pacemaker, you may want to exercise caution and spread your first experience out so you don't overwhelm your batteries.

There are many reference points used in my review, but I must make one thing perfectly clear - they are only reference points. With only a couple of exceptions, the other referenced artists only wish they could achieve what Shigeo Naka does on his guitar.

It's just my humble opinion, but it is The Surf Coasters that belong on the top of every guitar player's list, with only Dave Wronski and Jim Thomas on the same level.
Picks: Super Jet Boogie, Breakout, Refraction, Endless Journey, Pink Sapphire, Moonlight Cruise, Gloom, Drifter, Yume No Ato (After The Dream)

Track by Track Review

Super Jet Boogie dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a rockin' number with chorused led guitar, and a bog rock sound. Gigantic tortured guitar runs, spitfire fingers, and motherlode chords. There are references to The Scorpions and Epitaph, and a ton of energetic charm. A headbanger's dream!

Breakout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Boy do I like this! It's an experimental, heavy power epic with gorgeous guitar lines, thundering bass plunder, and powerhouse drums. Totally engaging. "Breakout" is a truly fine number with, dare I say it, Pollo Del Mar influences. As close as the two bands are personally, with PDM hosting The Surf Coasters US tours, it would be natural.

Refraction dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Refraction" is a big raw rocker with ringing tone and rockin' drums. It would be a mistake to overlook the bass' impact on the power of the track. This is all about energy, but its flying guitar solos are liquid gold. Mega power and edge!

Endless Journey dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Oh the silken joy of surf chords and moody melody lines. The long delay-induced sustain on the lead guitar gives it an international beach holiday feel. The melody is charming and fluid, and the bass and drums perfect for it. The break is like a another song entirely, with chilling tremolo and tribal danger in its slowly rising power. "Endless Journey" is dramatic, sophisticated, and very powerful. There are hints of Flower Traveling Band and other Japanese psych legends, as well as Satriani-like Santana-esq flights of fancy. Wow, what a progressive surf tale this weaves.

Pink Sapphire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big, brash, relentless percussion, thunder bass, and big rock chords drive "Pink Sapphire" to a powerful place. The break is like a seventies flight of paradise island fantasy, with modulated chords and a light hearted sound, but soon enough, they are back to the big rock candy of delight.

Moonlight Cruise dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow moody bass and tribal drums, glowing chords, a sort of Mermen-esq melody progression, and glorious island intensity. The string bending and distortion call to big rock volume, while the loveliness of the guitar playing sometimes demands ecstatic response. Beautiful and huge.

Gloom dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Long spooky ambiance created by the guitar's ghostly affects sets a haunting stage for this almost 801-like drama. "Gloom" is a guitar solo, moves very slowly through deadly storm break boiling with hidden logs and mud at the river mouth. Seagulls vibrate from the guitar strings.

Drifter dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is SO Northern California. Absolutely great drums, mean bass, and commanding guitar. It suggests those amazing beach parties the Mermen threw, but with Japanese thunder and over the top intensity. Oh man, does this ever soar! If ever there was a case to be made that progressive space rock was based in surf, "Drifter" is it! I need another star!

Yume No Ato (After The Dream) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Waves break softly on the sands, bringing on near-acoustic guitar playing a gentle and sultry melody fit for a fireside romance. "Yume No Ato" is a very beautiful song that is highly visual and emotional.

A calming end to one hell of an album!