Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Susan and the Surftones - Thunderbeachdotdotdotdot
Susan Yasinski and her East Coast band the SurfTones [becoming an all too common sub-name] have produced a new CD that is very different from the first. This is much less Ventures and much more surf and other influences. A worthy buy for sure.
Picks: Point Conception, Jack The Ripper, Thunder, Beat Rider, Tequila, Sunset Beach, Baja, Barbados Twist, Tabu, Wild Weekend, This Boy, Telstar, Deep Blue Goodbye, The Cruncher, Space Spider

Track by Track Review


Point Conception dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very unusual treatment of the Surf Raiders tune. Susan has a definite knack for making songs her own. It's not hotter, just not damped so severely, and it entirely changes the character. Very cool.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The long sustain plus the surf tones and gentle intensity make for a very unusual arrangement of this Link Wray classic. It's been overdone, but a refreshing approach is always welcome.

Thunder dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Jody Reynolds' band the Storms originally recorded this as the B-side to "Endless Sleep." Susan has replaced the ominous Al Casey growl with a surfy ominous coolness with a nasty sax.

Beat Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Original tune from Susan's pen. Her writing just keeps getting better. This is a nice number that reminds me a bit of some of Paul Johnson's mid-eighties material with it's frequent changes and chord dominance.

Tequila dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Any more studio reverb and the whole thing would disappear in a sea of swoosh. Very unusual, sans any Latin feel.

Sunset Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf Latin (Instrumental)

This is one of my favorite Tommy Nunes songs. It's not covered often - only the Surf Piranhas come to mind. As before, her treatment gives it a whole new character, with none of the Sentinals delicacy or the Surf Piranhas ska / rockabilly flair.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low down and gritty approach with vibrato and very nice guitar interplay and textural contrasts.

Barbados Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Original tune in a jam-like structure. It features a Steve Douglas style sax break. Quite the twangfest.

Tabu dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotic (Instrumental)

Original tune with a jungle beat and mystic island drums a la Ron Wilson. The minimal melody does not hamper the likability of this tune. It's not lounge at all, but it is definitely exotic.

Wild Weekend dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Great sax, but there is still no substitute for the original from the Rockin' Rebels.

This Boy dotdotdot
Surf British Invasion (Instrumental)

Quiet lagoon slow dancing version of the Beatles' boring pop song [sorry, I like very little the Beatles ever did, which puts me in a small minority].

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf Joe Meek (Instrumental)

Almost organ-like guitar sounds do not produce the power of Joe Meek's production or the [London] Tornados original. It's also not dry, sterile and lifeless like the Ventures. It just isn't very interesting.

Deep Blue Goodbye dotdotdot
Surf Lagoon (Instrumental)

A sax lead original tune that's slow and very sad. This would be a good tune to back a rainy scene in some flick.

The Cruncher dotdotdotdot
Surf Cozy Cole (Instrumental)

Way cool treatment of the Cruncher's namesake song. The rockabilly drums under a simple string of notes with a few Cozy Cole tom-tom and snare bits. I like this!

Space Spider dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

"Space Spider" sports a warbly guitar sound over a fifties instro structure. Throbbing and vintage, with an ominous feel.