Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Surf Nation - Music For Dangerous Activitiesdotdotdotdot
artworkSeveral years in the making, Surf Nation's CD is finally here. The fall of Camp OJ led to the rise of this fine band. Lead guitarist Tom Moncrief's surf credentials are solid, having played with the Surf Raiders in the early eighties.
Picks: L'ock 'N' Dam #5, Party At The Sandbar, Ali Baba, Sex Wax, Grease Monkey, Rendezvous, Knucklehead, Soweto Surf, Curl Rider, Nitro, Trembeleau, Goldfinger

Track by Track Review


L'ock 'N' Dam #5 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and haunted, howlingly cool, string-bent twangy, this is a dramatic monster with power and flash. Long sustained notes howl and call to the surf. Aggressive tone and stormy danger abound. An excellent track! Not for the timid or trad limited.

Party At The Sandbar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More or less traditional arranged, "Party At The Sandbar" sports modern tone and a catchy surf beat, with whammy and warm sunny sound. Great glissandos and rhythm. Happy as they come, like a merger of the Wedge and the Evasions, but with a thicker sound. Excellent!

Ali Baba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Solid twangy edgy surf with an infectious energy and beat. This is a strong song and performance, with appropriate thunder and flare. Magnificent! Dave and the Customs' mighty "Ali Baba" was in their set in the Camp OJ days, and appears on Gnarly Reef.

Sex Wax dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sex Wax" is a rockin' little number with a cool rhythm track and sound. Stinging guitar, tuff bass and drums, and a one-chord exotic rhythm that's oddly attractive. Intense, glissandoed, and compelling, with some dark passages and some flippant.

Grease Monkey dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The motorcycle revs up, the brutal rhythm guitar circulates atop a relentless rhythm section. This reminds me of the intensity of Captain Beefheart's ultra fine "Big Eyed Beans From Venus." Hard driving, blues with edge, and dangerous rock 'n' roll.

Rendezvous dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A soft and very fluid song circulates from indoors to out, with a sense of optimism. This very original song is a splendid example of the power of a pretty melody and inventive rhythm section.

Knucklehead dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Knucklehead" sounds just like you think... stereo chord chunk and pomp open it up, then a circular noodle line tells of punkoidal thrashing and heavy stadium riffage. Quite an exercise.

Soweto Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid track! "Soweto Surf" is happy and exotic, bouncy and tropical, and very catchy. Amazingly infectious, on the fast side, and simply charming. I found myself coming back to this track over and over again.

Curl Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom Moncrief brought this forward from his stint in the Surf Raiders. Less reverby than the original, but equally compelling, "Curl Rider" continues to be a splendid surf instro. Surf Nation brought more edge to it, yet retained the pure surf credibility. Excellent!

Nitro dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's "Nitro" is punched out with harsh drive and stereo vibrato throb. Slightly less edgy, considerably more lush. This thick arrangement has more going on arrangement wise, and surer does fill the surf urge.

Trembeleau dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Trembeleau" slowly rises from liquid island chords. A whistle and low register soft guitar portray a gray day. A pretty and slightly spooky ambiance for a down day.

Goldfinger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has been covered a lot, but this is not like others. The rhythm track is splendid, adding a richness and delicacy others miss, while the guitar is rich and full. Quite a good cover.