Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
3 Balls Of Fire - Chrome and Waterdotdotdotdot
artworkAnother excellent album from one of surf's most original bands, fronted by the Texas Tuberider himself, Mike Vernon. I never tire of his unique approach and writing. Chrome and Water is an excellent album!
Picks: Theme From 'Blue Hue', Chrome and Water, Star Of Texas, Lonesome Tide, Baia, Jet Set Jewel, Eight Miles Down, Alcohol Funny Car, Untitled #5, Wide As The Ocean, Deep Like The Sea, Kilimanjaro

Track by Track Review


Theme From 'Blue Hue' dotdotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

This is an unusually playful song for 3 Balls Of Fire, with a very childlike innocence running through a jazzy flow, with some gutty fuzz added. More mathematical and excursional than melodic, and full of visual jazz references.

Chrome and Water dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Delicate damped surf plucking opens a very cool song that is readily identifiable as 3 Balls Of Fire. Spunky, moderately paced, intriguing, and spiced with double picked surf drones and darkness. "Chrome and Water" is more than unusual, with splashy whammy and a magnetic sound and power.

Star Of Texas dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato shimmered cowboy twang and surf, a sense of open space, and a journey toward excellent curl cohabit nicely in this fine song. "Star Of Texas" is friendly and warm, optimistic and enticing, and simply enjoyable.

Lonesome Tide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Lonesome Tide" is a slow bluesy number with an exotic view of the coast from just over the cactus line that shimmers and curls with romantic imagery. It's a very pretty song with a lush sense of warmth and a call to exotic places! I first heard this in the Pit at KFJC. I'm glad it finally made it to CD. An excellent track!

Baia dotdotdot
Country Jazz (Instrumental)

"Baia" is a bouncy and playful song with a jazzy underbelly and country grin. I'm not sure why the title, but that doesn't matter. It's simply enjoyable.

Jet Set Jewel dotdotdotdotdot
Space Age Surf (Instrumental)

With a playful rhythm hinting at "Istanbul" and a catchy melody over the top of sensual tom tom driven drums and low-down bass, "Jet Set Jewel" is an exercise in exotic space age emotion. Even the chorus adds real style. The drum solo is rhythmic and very infectious. It's entirely too cool!

Eight Miles Down dotdotdotdotdot
Space Age Surf (Instrumental)

Psycho-strange effects, disturbing chords and moody production, and a sense of danger that attracts. Dribbly double pick lines, hanging surf notes, and jazzy chords give the night a scary edge. I like this a lot. It's a long way from the traditional surf envelope, but it's just so cool!

Alcohol Funny Car dotdotdot
Space Age Surf (Instrumental)

"Alcohol Funny Car" bumps with an undulating rhythm and drama provided by the drums and a pause accented structure. Nice track.

Untitled #5 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the track that 3 Balls Of Fire have on the soon-to-be-released Richard Podolor tribute comp. Podolor's great writing has contributed to Mike Vernon's bands for many years. This song is particularly fitting for Mike's unique arranging and playing style. Surf reverb and jazzy flair intersect with classic Podolor writing for a pulsing circulating song that moves right into your psyche.

Wide As The Ocean, Deep Like The Sea dotdotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

This soft flowing jazz number is very warm in a cool breeze kinda way. Tropical shores and swaying skirts come to mind as you listen to this song. "Wide As The Ocean, Deep Like The Sea" is quite pretty.

Kilimanjaro dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A metronomic beat and smooth cool bass provide a launch pad for guitar accents and bongos. "Kilimanjaro" is a simple concept that is a flashy adventure for guitaristry. Distortion, fuzz, reverb, almost Slacktone-like splash, and a psychedelic flight of fantasy sound. Way cool!