Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Trio - Curse Of The Surf Triodotdotdotdot
artworkI've been a fan of these guys since '85 when their first 7 inch ep emerged. When last I talked with Jeff Martin, he said they were going to do an instrumental album. I had no Idea that their reverence for surf launched from their grand garage sound would yield such a strong album! This foursome dubbed Trio (why Jeff, historical?) has made my top ten for the year. Killer album. The album is loaded with really strong originals with varied paces & textures, thus avoiding a sameness that can be the death of an instro band. The playing is perfect... wow! There are only 2 covers, Bobby Fuller's "Wolfman" and Dick Dale's "The Wedge". The band is still comprised of 2 original members, guitarists Ron Kleim and Pete Weinberger, and bassist Jeff Martin who replaced Dave Myer between the first ep and the Voxx lp (85), making the core of the band a decade old, and very tight. Drummers have come and gone, including Aaron Temple, Terence Kerrigan, Tim Erickson (on a few tracks here), and now Ramon LaMadrid. Drummers seem to be the liquid element in surf bands.
Picks: Cape Wonder, Gila, Surf Is Dead, Port Orford, Wolfman, 99th Wave, Do The Reach Around, Steamer, Forbidden Zone, Columbia, Mr. Rhythm, The Plunger, Los Luchadors, The Wedge

Track by Track Review

Cape Wonder dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wham bam, thank you mam. This is one fine shredder. Edgie guitar double picking high energy low-E leads that issue up short board action. The almost-behind-the-bridge high notes slithering is very cool., like the plucking in the Citations's "Moon Race," but double picked instead of single notes, and glissando based. An infectious tune.

Gila dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

High energy progression based surf slaughter, chunky, edgie, and grinding.

Surf Is Dead dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track was used in the soundtrack to Neat Stuff. It is low down grodie, growly, and infectious. The break is lighter hearted than the main body. The dark imagery is superb. Chunk and rhythms combine for a solid ride.

Port Orford dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Semi slow melodic and nearly peaceful. This track sports a picturesque melody and moving tones. A nice track, with the kind of melody that could have been used as a basis for Kraftwerk's "the Model" almost, not that it's derivative of that, but it has that sort of lilt to it.

Wolfman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moderately interesting cover of Bobby Fuller's classic, with a completely different tonality, and none of the chunk of the Fuller version. The changes removed all the surf chunk and replaced it with shallow light weight tones. I don't think this track works at all.

99th Wave dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was used as the title theme for Neat Stuff. It's short, high powered, totally memorable, and completely wonderful. This is a Hell of a great track. It shreds, pummels, demands attention, and leaves you satisfied and smiling. Magnificent!

Do The Reach Around dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A solid track, with adequate surfiness, and a nice melody line. Not very memorable, but worth a listen.

Steamer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Used as a bumper in TLC's Neat Stuff series, this track is perfectly composed, and chunkily played. It's melodic, and magically catchy. The super chunk of the low-E double picked lines is cool. A fine track.

Forbidden Zone dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunk and grind, surfy backtrack, and progression based, with whammy action, and grodie double picked lines. A solid track.

Columbia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow super chunk, rhythmic, delicate lead lines, and a quiet drama permeate this fine track. It has endearing sounds, and fine tight writing. It almost shines.

Mr. Rhythm dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A happy-go-lucky track, with a frothy melody and spiffy tones. In places, it almost laughs. The ringing quality of the track, and the playfulness of the melody are reminiscent of some of the flower pop singles of the late sixties, like the bridge from Simon & Garfunkle's "59th Street Bridge Song."

The Plunger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Power chunk and a catchy riff combine to create a very good track. This is both familiar and not, endearing itself to you immediately with a riff that hints of the happy daze of yore. Nifty track.

Los Luchadors dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and silky mood piece with a great melody and pristine imagery. This is a fine lagoon floater, rippling gently with the small waves of a protected bay. Mighty nice.

The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's monster, played fast and furious. The power is there, the shred factor is too. There aren't many covers of this that merit listening, most paling to Dick's Capitol session, but this is right up there with the Thrusters' version. Hot and spunky.