Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Lords - Shark Attack!!!dotdotdotdot
artworkA splendid album of surf moderne instros with exceptional production and lots of charm. Spooky, liquid, and always interesting. Vocals on this set include the plaintiff and soulful "Beach Party," and the graveyard romance "Vampirella."
Picks: Burt's Tiki Tear Drop, Cleopatra, Shark Attack!!!, Third Stone From The Sun, Bombay Highway Part I, Bombay Highway Part II, Goldfinger, Martian Seas, Don't Fear The Reaper, Ring Of Fire, Lil' Conga Boy, What Have We Done?, White Wedding

Track by Track Review

Burt's Tiki Tear Drop dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

A dark rhythm powers a splashy surf lead, with warm chord transitions. "Burt's Tiki Tear Drop" is both tough and pretty in its own way. Surf Moderne with a chunky rhythm and sense of choppy swells in the rain.

Cleopatra dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Panned delays on the guitar create a mysterious image of a lost queen. The slow and sinewy melody flows like a specter on the Nile, just above a lumbering and moody rhythm track. This is a very cool track!

Shark Attack!!! dotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

the Jaws chords run under calls of "oh no" and "what's that?" That is the only similarity to the film score. The bridge is built from remnants of "Moment Of Truth," while the main course is a jammy thing. Some very fine moments.

Third Stone From The Sun dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Jimi Hendrix's epic and haunting "Third Stone From The Sun" is done up in a wash of feedback and darkness. This is not like the Dick Dale cover, but is much closer to the original. On the soft side, with soul and a bit of a searching sound.

Bombay Highway Part I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Haunting soft notes call to the old world with spatial reverberation and tablas. "Bombay Highway Part I" is a spooky and slow moving piece that is intriguing and endearing. With the vibrato in sync with the tempo, the song gets even spookier.

Bombay Highway Part II dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Continuing down the path, "Bombay Highway Part II" is faster and features delicately double picked guitar and a brighter mood. Still haunting softly with old world sounds, and perhaps even more intriguing. The double picked notes dribble like rivulets on their way to the sea.

Goldfinger dotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

the theme to "Goldfinger" has been done many times, but I don't recall a slow version with so much haunting soul. Very cool.

Martian Seas dotdotdotdot
Space Sounds (Instrumental)

Space is deep, and the sounds are time-shifted and cold. Like a Hawkwind ritual, "Martian Seas" serves as an introduction to "Don't Fear The Reaper."

Don't Fear The Reaper dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Dragstrip's version was very cool. The Surf Lords take a different tack, using soft moody tones and intense notes to recreate Blue Oyster Cult's classic song. Brilliant!

Ring Of Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Oh that Johnny Cash! Little did he know his band know how many ways "Ring Of Fire" could work. Just the span of soundscape between its country roots and the pompous rock wonder of the Animals, through a plethora of eighties versions, and now this splendid adaptation. Surf, blues, liquid groove, and more.

Lil' Conga Boy dotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

the conga line provides the rhythm for this medley, which includes Enrique Garcia's "Conga," Harry Simeone's "Little Drummer Boy," and Stan Jones' classic "(Ghost Riders) In The Sky," hence the derivation of the title. Way cool.

What Have We Done? dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

This is a long and liquid song. "What Have We Done?" runs a wide slow river with occasional rapids, where immense sound and supernatural scenery rule. A monster of nightfall moods. Soft at times, harsh at others, it's an epic tale of murder on the surf.

White Wedding dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

Billy Idol's big'un is a natural for instrumentalization as the Hula Hounds proved. The Surf Lords do it in their own way, and it's wonderful. Thick and awash with rip tide currents, "White Wedding" is attractive and completely cool.