Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Susan and the SurfTones - Wrap-Arounddotdotdotdot
artworkSusan and the SurfTones continue to evolve, with a more fluid performance and tight consistent sound. Susan Yasinski's knack for writing simple songs that grab and hold without overpowering is quite impressive. Another fine release!

Now relocated to the Northwest, the new band is Susan Yasinski - guitar, Jim Fritz - bass, Bob Becker - drums, and Avery Gray - keyboards.
Picks: West 30, Wrap-Around, Blondes In Cars, Peter Gunn, Lonely Crimson Sea, Nina's Empty Glass, More, Moon Woman 42, Ghost Riders In The Sky, Leopard Spots, Sand Dreamer, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, Casper Reef, Blue's Theme

Track by Track Review


West 30 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"West 30" seems more about the thickness of its sound than a melody, not that it's non melodic, but rather the rhythm track seems most important. It has a kind of post punk garage feel, like the Blacklight Chameleons used to create, but also more surfable and fluid, and a little less angular.

Wrap-Around dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody line here is warm and very smooth. Susan Yasinski's writing has certainly matured over the years, as has her playing. "Wrap-Around" is a fine song, very well played, with warmth and a liquid flow.

Blondes In Cars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an almost Ramones sense about the structure, "Blondes In Cars" is rhythmic and fluid. It's warmth and infectious nature are quite fine.

Peter Gunn dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" gets the nod in a more suave way than most surfbands play it. Susan carries the classic guitar line in sync with Jim Fritz' bass, while the precision drum cadence from Bob Becker supports Avery Gray's organ leads, alternately trading lead-rhythm duties. It retains the pulsing drone of the piece, and solidly holds interest with several textural changes.

Lonely Crimson Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a unique song among surf instros, with a moody organ lead that actually maintains a connection with surf (a difficult feat in a genre based on guitar and piano leads). Solid and a little sad, and well crafted.

Nina's Empty Glass dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one happy song, with warm slides up to joyous chords and a romping rhythm track. Completely endearing, "Nina's Empty Glass" captures you and won't let go. Great for an ocean view drive on a summer's day.

More dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The theme from the film Mono Cane avoids the cheesiness of Kai Winding and Kenny Burrell's classic hit. Smooth and very enjoyable, this is a reverent cover in Susan and the SurfTones style.

Moon Woman 42 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the edgy side, "Moon Woman 42" uses a little distortion and an adventurous melody line that's ever so slightly reminiscent of the Surf Trio. Nice track.

Ghost Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stan Jones' classic country song made into a household melody by the Ramrods gets another lease on life. The rich and authentic arrangement is like a tribal reinvention of the Ramrods' with the guitar carrying the lead and rhythm as well. A very nice cover.

Leopard Spots dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Twang and a quirky riff dominate the scene as Susan and the SurfTones have intricate fun with this circular song.

Sand Dreamer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big chords and a "Lonely Bull" spaghetti western edge bring forth a slightly atmospheric song with a solemn mood. "Sand Dreamer" grows on you.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is one of Joe Strummer's more familiar Clash songs. Edge, pop 'n' pomp, and a sense of rock 'n' roll simplicity. A fun cover.

Casper Reef dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A warm feel from fifties pop rhythms, splashy played out chords, and a bit of whammy action... "Casper Reef" is a simple and strong track with an attractive sound. I like this a lot. It has an almost Micky and Sylvia feel to it.

Blue's Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Davie Allan's best known song is an interesting choice. The fuzztone is almost voice-like, and the less abrasive arrangement is both friendly and pumped. Most unusual.