Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfdusters - Raincoast Rumbledotdotdotdot
artworkRich Hagensen (Mark Brodie & The Beaver Patrol, Live Wire Magazine) and his fine band have come up with a magnificent CD. Mostly original tunes in a trad-based style with a decidedly Canadian sound and feel, and that wonderful sense of melody these gents have forced upon us in the past. There's cowboy surf and save the globe surf and Big Kahuna surf, but no Bennett Cerf (that's a joke, son!). This a fine CD, and it's varied textures, sounds, and styles help maintain the interest throughout the CD. A Canadian surf wave deluxe! They were great at Summer Surf III. The breadth of their recorded work here is impressive.
Picks: Save The Waves, Tyee Off Tsuquadra, Riptide, Kathy Don't Eat The Clams, Smells Like Fish, Tastes Like Red Tide, X-It Hiawatha, Cattle Drive, The Lonely Spanish Hotel, Border Run, Hero Of The Beach, Banzai Rider, Phantom Train, Eclipse, Chill Out, Raincoast Rumble

Track by Track Review

Save The Waves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surfdusters are a Canadian band (Vancouver BC) formed around the nucleus of Rich Hagensen (Live Wire Magazine), whose association with Ralph Cameron Johnston goes way back with the Garage Surfers, the Fridge Magnets, the Unknowns, etc.... "Save The Waves" is from their brand new CD, which is one of the great new releases! Their approach is pretty traditional, but it's edgy.

Tyee Off Tsuquadra dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish flair and dramatic lurking danger are found within this eloquent track. It uses some familiar riffs, dramatic changes, stylized visions, and intellectual structures. A nice tune, assembled like something from an artier period. Very good listening.

Riptide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great title! Images of being gummed to death. An ominous riff oriented dramatic structure with very inventive arranging make this a fine art surf piece. Is this the dawn of a new sub genre? Nice track.

Kathy Don't Eat The Clams dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick moody R&B like track, with the lead guitar almost lost in the right channel, while the relentless backtrack rolls on. With a different mix, this would probably be a fine song, but this is quite boring, having no focus.

Smells Like Fish, Tastes Like Red Tide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Haunting and different, this seems to be based on The Cruel Sea, but only slightly. Thick moody backtrack, fluffy light lead guitar too low in the mix, but somehow effective, like the sun peeking out from behind a cloud. The contrast between these two elements is what makes this work. Interesting track.

X-It Hiawatha dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very thick tribal chunka thunka riff rock. No melody line, just chunky rhythms and stylized noodling. Too long for a track with so little direction. Seemed to take five minute to pass, but it’s only half that.

Cattle Drive dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A thick and difficult version of the Flat Duo Jets’ arrangement of the Dave Clark Five’s lone instro. Hard to like, not as spirited as the Flat Duo Jets, and too murky to compete with the DCV original.

The Lonely Spanish Hotel dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Short thick blast of energy, thrashy and assaultive, but without benefit of melody.

Border Run dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

California Sun drums, thumpy bass, and chunky rhythms, but where’s the melody?

Hero Of The Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an unusual surf tune, employing nontraditional lead tones via an extreme warble keyboard, and accompanied by trad rhythm guitar. It's nearly whistling melodic sound is both catchy and annoying, not in a negative sense, but in a disquieting sense. I found myself both drawn to it and uneasy with it. That tension hold the interest. The whistling organ lead is almost calliopic. This is a playful and infectious track.

Banzai Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick and chunky surf, moody sadness, double picked lead work, and round tones. This is a nice track, with a lot of appeal. I think a more powerful mix would take it over the top, not that this doesn't work, but it is a case where the multitracks could be brought forth in a more sympathetic light. Mean and fluid.

Phantom Train dot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

This track is a self indulgent noodle fest, it the overworked big venue guitar hero sense. No melody, just leaning back with hair flying in the artificial wind while long sustained notes burst the ear drums.

Eclipse dot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Thick, guitar hero metal riffs, waiting for a song to arrive on scene. No more than a riff, and over indulged stylized string bending.

Chill Out dot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Chunk and thump, and a rhythmic backtrack that promised but did not deliver a changing lead attitude. The lead lines are the sort of thing that was merely a two line guitar break in a single, now stretched out to five minutes.

Raincoast Rumble dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Summer Surf III brought the Surfdusters all the way down from Canada just to play for us. Their vision of surf is certainly reverent, but it is also influenced by the Canadian instro sound. This band is headed by the publisher of Live Wire magazine. You'll find them to be a unique surf band, and their music to be diverse and enjoyable.