Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Creatures - X-50dotdotdot
artworkThis band is very strong, performance wise. It's more than clear that they can command attention when they play. Their recording is ambient PZM, and is irritating to endure. Their covers are the best only because the writing is still a bit tentative, with inadequate melody development and undifferentiated lead and rhythm lines. A good studio, more writing practice, and they will conquer the UK!
Picks: Detonation, Shark Bait, Action Plus, Tiger 90, Surfari, Cafe Barrio, Stranded, The Creature From The Surf, X50, Everybody Up, Cruel Sea, Danger Point, Rumble At Waikiki, Kasoon Surf (Calhoun Surf), The Nomad, Outflow, Kagool Attack

Track by Track Review

Detonation dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sampled introduction about the big bang. "Detonation" is a rhythmic minimally melodic tune with tribal toms. Big guitar flash in a rock kind of way.

Shark Bait dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fiery and a bit melodic - mostly a progression oriented number. It has some Dick Dale-ish sound. It's not very good quality sound, but and it's pretty riffy, yet it has a certain power charm and splash about it.

Action Plus dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythm oriented and forgettable.

Tiger 90 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More melodic than most of their originals, but the ambient recording losses the energy of the performance in the non-discrete nature of the sound.

Surfari dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a great version of the Original Surfaris tune. It's been covered a dozen times in the last year, but still, it is a strong performance. When there's a strong melody and structure, these guys really shine.

Cafe Barrio dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The ambient next-door intro is dumb. This is a powerful track. As with many of their originals, the lead and rhythm are doing too much the same thing, losing some of the definition and missing the opportunity to shine. This is more the difference between their covers which tend to shine, and their originals which tend to be just so so. This song particularly would benefit from a good recording and an improved rhythm.

Stranded dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

A slow bluesy number with water rippling at the shore - sorta Link-ish and sorta island exotic.

The Creature From The Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sample intro. Big deep sounding guitars. Lots of energy. Mostly a progression, but it's cool.

X50 dotdotdot
Progression (Instrumental)

Sampled intro. Not very interesting, little more than a garage progression.

Everybody Up dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A hot cover of the Fender IV tune, reminiscent of the Category 5 version, but with more reverb. Thunderous & fiery. It's amazing what they can do with a good melody. Imagine it from a decent studio!

Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Way over done Dakotas' tune. The added organ is thankfully buried in the mix. Nothing special.

Danger Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Semi melodic tune with frantic drums. Pretty cool.

Rumble At Waikiki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Blair's tune, missing the thunder of the J&NR version, but fiery none the less.

Kasoon Surf (Calhoun Surf) dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very thin sound and a superfluous organ detract from a so-so cover of Danny Amis' first song. Every other cover version is better. The whole rhythmic backing is missing, or buried in the murk of the recording.

The Nomad dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A nice version, but shrill. The organ is obnoxious here, not complimentary. This may well be due the cheap PZM sound. It's really hard to listen to.

Outflow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A toilet flushes, the surf ripples at the shore, and then a thunderous tune outflows... Despite it's name, this track rates the lowest of all their originals in effluent quotient. It's quite cool!

Kagool Attack dot
Samples (Instrumental)

Samples and spacie 50's sci-fi stuff. No music at all.