Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Zombies - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's been a while since Cedar Rapids, Iowa spawned a surfband of note, the last time being The Royal Flairs of "One Pine Box" fame. The Surf Zombies are completely different from those early days. Mostly strong release, with a couple of real winners and a couple of ho-hummers as well. Much of this album displays interesting arranging and writing, and a band worthy of attention.
Picks: Hammerhead, Speedo, Submarina, Garage Jam, Space Ape, They Feed At Night, Sea Snake, 289 To Ape City, Primitive E, Pretty Daddy, Seaside Heights, Skullaballoo, The Meat Grinder, The Is, Nothing Good Happens After Midnight

Track by Track Review

Hammerhead dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hammerhead" is a large sweeping piece of music with ringing chords and long swells in view. Dramatic at times, and thickly layered with guitars and whammy chords, the song is unique and very cool.

Speedo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is both dark and optimistic. It calls up the front cover image in some ways. Whammy chords, a sort of Texas twang, and sweeping imagery. Gutty glissandos add a hook to the traditional genre, but "Speedo" is clearly not a trad song. It's big, and would work really well on a drive down 101.

Submarina dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What an infectious song this is! "Submarina" has a great beat, a ton of energy, grand whammy chords, and that unbridled enthusiasm only surf instros seem able to generate. Simply superb!

Garage Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The drum beat from "The Shimmy" (Belairs) launches this sweeping number. Big chord drama, and a simple melody progression that sparkles with optimism. This is a big stomp number that is pretty catchy.

Space Ape dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A big, slightly string bent note opens this ominous lumbering near-horror instro. Grimy and scary with reverb.

They Feed At Night dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In anticipation of rain and dancing monsters, "They Feed At Night" playfully prances across your awareness like a shimmering sunrise. The melody is quite good, and there's ample coolness.

Sea Snake dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big tom toms and a very original pair of guitar lines charter entirely new territory. In some ways, "Sea Snake" is kind of a modern minuet, but mostly it's a fanciful and playful piece that's like tux at the beach. I love this!

289 To Ape City dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"289 To Ape City" is very Eddie Angel-ish in both tone and structure, but it also features some great dribbling glissandos and sparkling reverb. Quite fun.

Primitive E dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody lines and chord progressions are very engaging. "Primitive E" is an original idea that is very well executed. The two guitars compliment, play duets, and richly layer surf textures. Simply grand.

Pretty Daddy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sultry and suave, sort of like a whammified version of The Deep End. This is rich and lush and just a touch gritty. Moody and a little misty, it satisfies fully.

Seaside Heights dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Seaside Heights" is an easy song with a carefree attitude and dry lead guitar. It's on the beach side, with few changes and a basic structure. While very pleasant, it didn't leave a lasting impression.

Skullaballoo dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Skullaballoo" is based around a minimal riff and kind of go-go theme. Great title, but an unremarkable song!

The Meat Grinder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Presenting a bit of ominous edge, "The Meat Grinder" is nicely built around a simple riff idea that's varied through textural changes and variations in the jammy lines above.

The Is dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big power throb through tremolo and drums, dark guitar lines, and a kind of thundering sound. The whole track seems to tremble. It seems less loud that it ought to be, almost as if it was played at less than performance levels during recording. "The Is" is a compelling work for sure.

Nothing Good Happens After Midnight dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums, thick sound, dark thunder, and lurking danger. "Nothing Good Happens After Midnight" is a song with pulsing power and big splash. There's lots of surf to be scared of here.