Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Kings - Live At Toesdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Surf Kings are the result of merging Tom Stanton's surf instro roots from his days in the Crossfires with the huge psychedelic surf sound of the Mermen and Jimi Hendrix. This band rules. Talented, and playing with a unique sound, they are a must see, must hear band. No dogs here, just powerful modern surf waiting for the new millennium.
Picks: Out Of Control, Undertow, Bury The Rat, South Swell, Tears Of The Dolphin, East Of Jamaica, Fiberglass Jungle, Pull Of The Moon, Road To Mundaka, Black Sea, Voodoo/Moon

Track by Track Review

Out Of Control dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai" a.k.a. "Hawaiian War Chant" is speedily chunked out over tribal Polynesian drums, and interlaced with a keyboard cheesier than Don Ho's mai tai. Fine, unpretentious fun.

Undertow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thundering drums, big chunky chords, pummeling energy, and swirling melody line combine into one powerful surf pounder. Very cool vibes within, and super high energy drums.

Bury The Rat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hendrixian, moody, dark, and slow. This walks the fine line between dark psych and surf imagery. This track is clearly inspired by the Mermen, it seems to me. It has Jim Thomas' style written all over it, and I know Tom is a BIG fan. Dramatic, artful, brilliantly composed, and moody.

South Swell dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Piano, keyboard melody, and a rolling progression of an R&B party nature. Sax stuff, guitar fills, and that plinkery on the piano is quite spiffy.

Tears Of The Dolphin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Freddie King funkabilly surf-n-soul, with major Central Coast influences, and fine piano tones. Definitely playful and suave.

East Of Jamaica dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rising from bassy feedback and ringing chords in a very Mermen way, this haunting and dramatic track is both sophisticated and magnetic. Huge sounds, and an energetic percussive melody once the main work is accessed. This is more Jimi Hendrix than Mermen in the main part of the song, yet uniquely Surf Kings.

Fiberglass Jungle dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Semi pomp, quirky crawly, almost Adams Family bug like. The piano is too suave. This seems like a bachelor pad smoothy. The growly bass break is totally boss.

Pull Of The Moon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfisimo like a Central Valley interpretation, suave, soulful, and mean. Not very melodic, but probably great at a tavern.

Road To Mundaka dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rolling snare, twisted calliope keys, thumpy rhythm, demented visions, and all from the back side of the merry-go-round. You can just see subnormal mutants frolicking on the lawn while you spin around on the back of a plaster horse. Wee!

Black Sea dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not the serious surfism that others have made of this classic tune, but rather a very playful and infectious party favorite. The sax warbles are very cute, and add an air of exotic silliness that just tops off a mighty grin laden performance. Wonderful, and magical. Visions of dancing girls weave through my dreams....

Voodoo/Moon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfing up the melodramatic Billy Stewart version of the Gershwin classic is a stroke of genius. The straight surf sections are predictably melodic and satisfying, but it is the end, when they drop into that almost scat singing big production thing that it all comes together. Great stuff.