Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfites - The Surfites And Co.dotdotdot
artworkOne of the coolest studio creations in recent memory, The Surfites, have developed schizophrenia, resulting is multiple personalities under several assumed names. I have to say that the expected writing quality is certainly here, and the potential too, but the drums sound is really awful, dropping most tracks by one or two stars, depending on just how annoying the sound is in context.
Picks: Gnarly Charlie Brown, The Picador, Surf Reveille, Vanadis, Danger Ahead '66, Gremmie's Blues, Ankle Busters, Barrel Run, Disillusional Youth, Farewell Old West, La Ronde Infernale

Track by Track Review


Gnarly Charlie Brown dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The drums charge with a trashy sounding, romping beat. The surf melody on both guitar and vibes-like keys is superb. The muted lines surely please. "Gnarly Charlie Brown" would be five stars except for the abominable drums sound.

The Picador dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Big whammy twang, echoed guitar plucking, and a galloping beat. Again, awful drums sound holds this back. Excellent writing and energy, along with splendid playing. "The Picador" is infectious.

Cycle Sounds dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Very dirty Dave Allan-ish fuzz and melody line give this mid tempo instro serious edge. String bending and grit abound. "Cycle Sounds" does seem to be too unchanging for me.

Let's Wail dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Go-go lounge instrumental fare, with a circular riff and more or less jammy structure. "Let's Wail" is more fun than most such endeavors, but did not bring me back for second listens.

Surf Reveille dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bugle call opens "Surf Reveille," which otherwise has relationship to "Reveille." The melody is very cool, and the energy infectious. On the faster side, very nicely written, and sporting The Surfites' signature guitar and keys sound.

Vanadis dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

A semi-military marching beat runs murkily beneath a fine melody line. Scenic and twangy, with s fine arrangement. Cruddy drum sound mars the overall effect.

Danger Ahead '66 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

King Fuzz dirty fuzz and note bending against amore typical Surfites bed is very effective. The drums are crude, but the track has plenty of angst and Davie Allan styling.

Gremmie's Blues dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Gremmie's Blues" is a fluid track with that signature keyboard and surf guitar. As a slow number, it allows the lo-fi drums to be heard and mess up the impression of the extremely cool intro. Parts of it remind me of The Space Agency, but only in spot.

Waggin' Your Tail dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Go-go riffology, based around a riff, and sounding fairly jammy to me, "Waggin' Your Tail" did not leave me wanting to go back for more.

Strange Planet dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Deranged Euro string bending and echo create an disturbed aural image. The title is appropriate - "Strange Planet."

Rebels Route dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Squirting square-wave fuzz guitar copies the styling of Davie Allan's sixties biker soundtrack music. The song is nicely written and the arrangement solid.

Ankle Busters dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Muted surf in the signature style of The Surfites. A brilliant melody line and beautiful guitar-bell like keyboard compliments. Big chords, inventive drums, and a wonderful arrangement. Only the trashy drums sound holds it back.

Campus Workout dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Crowd sounds create a sense of real-time performance in the way all fake live tracks of the day did. "Campus Workout" is a bluesy go-go jam.

Lunatic Express dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big echo and whammy guitar deliver a playful Euro style melody riff. "Lunatic Express" is mighty fun, but I did not return for an additional tour of duty.

Barrel Run dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The sea laps at the shore as a gentle double picked melody unfolds in a moody minor key. "Barrel Run" is very well written, and arranged much like the better studio sessions of the sixties. Very nice.

Disillusional Youth dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Squirting fuzz in a modestly paced setting, with nicely contrasting surf guitar and keyboard. The bass line is particularly nice here. The drums make this seem too trashy.

Farewell Old West dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The way the British rock bands played western instrumentals is the basis here. Some tasteful picking and twisted whammy.

La Ronde Infernale dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rising from racing cars, "La Ronde Infernale" is a splendid romp with fuzz second guitar and splash chord third. The melody is very fun and adventurous. Very fun.