Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfdusters - Surf After Darkdotdotdot
artworkThis is the second CD from Canada's granddaddy surf band, the Surfdusters. They again demonstrate that they are not bound by silly notions of trad limitations, but rather explore further their rich instro appreciation and history. The CD includes a live track from their appearance at Summer Surf III in 1996. This is a fine CD.
Picks: Death Trap, Sharkskin, Radar Hill, Surf Buggy, Gruesome, Russian Dressing, Gas Jockey, Forgotten Rebel, The Friendly Martian, Stubble Jumper, KGB-In, Kona Angel, Wreck Beach, El Dementia, Haunted Surf, Henpicker

Track by Track Review

Death Trap dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Despite having my hope of surf cover of Hawkwind's "Death Trap" dashed, I am thoroughly enthralled with this track. It opens with notes and chords, strung out for dramatic effect, punctuated by a reverb crash, which leads into a mighty crunchy intro sequence, before lashing out with a hot tribal surf rant. This is among their best originals, IMHO. Utter energy, raw power, and great drum action.

Sharkskin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sharkskin" has a catchy riff line, and uses the organ tastefully. It's got a lot of energy, and a certain trad drama. Crunchy and fun.

Radar Hill dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The surf rolls ambiently in the background, and a damn fine haunting fog horn warns of rocks below. Then, a fine melodic surf tune comes flooding in. It's not a trad structure, more a fast progressive musical content with a picturesque melody line. Really nice track.

Surf Buggy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

First off, this is not the Dick Dale tune, it's an original. Second, the riff is friendly and warm. Thirdly, the infectious rhythm brings movement to the stodgiest of feet. There's no shortage of watery energy here.

Gruesome dotdotdot
Fuzz (Instrumental)

An instro originally from Canada's Gruesomes, this is a garage fuzz monster, a track apart from the rest here. It's not even slightly surf, but it is totally Fuzztones / Miracle Workers squarewave cool. So, there's no reason not to include it in a surf set.

Russian Dressing dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Russian Dressing" is a beautiful and haunting tune. The lead organ has a distant and ghostly quality, and placed over the surf rhythm, it works better than just about any organ lead surf instro I've ever heard. Nice track.

Gas Jockey dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lumbering drums a la "The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt" underpin a rockin' and playful vibrato number with a unique character. It's more jam like than melodic, but it is playful and quirky in the same way Flingel Bunt is. Nice track.

Forgotten Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Forgotten Rebel" is moody, almost spaghetti western, and richly twangy. The melody is very simple, but very effective. The use of frequent register shifts keeps it from becoming repetitious. The slow pace, and gentle backtrack add to the richness. very nice!

The Friendly Martian dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Friendly Martian" is sorta northwest like, early rock space cute, and garage fuzzed. Weird invasionary instro.

Stubble Jumper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cactus jumpin' cowpokes, utter barnyard fun, and totally playful melody. I like this a lot. Where's the chuck wagon, pardner?

KGB-In dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow dramatic track with an organ lead lies within the silver bumps of this track. It's definitely espionagic, with cossack shouts of "hey-hey-hey-hey-hey!" and a minor key semi-ominance. Cool track.

Kona Angel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hawaiianesque guitar work, sweetly lapped and honed. Breezy whispering evening lagoons and romantic walks. Slow and sinewy.

Wreck Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wreck Beach" is a vibrato throbbing twangin' ominous surf tune, mostly dependent on a riff and drama, but still quite effective. Very nice again.

El Dementia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You have to be crazy to surf there... thundering drums, double picked menacing waves, fluid melody line, and a mean vision.

Haunted Surf dotdotdot
Television Spy (Instrumental)

This television theme is slightly updated, but retains the cheese whip intentions of Lalo Schifrin, right down to the period bongos. Cool, but I think I'd not place it at the head of the CD as track 1

Henpicker dotdotdot
Twisted Billboard Morph (Instrumental)

Here's where the gray matter begins to swell. The fluffy treatment of Kurt Cobain's billboard hit says all that's needed about the self-righteousness of grunge, especially when sandwiched between slabs of "Gimme Gimme Gimme." Concrete turned to Jello. It's a beautiful thing.