Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Thurston Lava Tube - Me Ka Nahukudotdotdotdot
artworkThis time out, the Thurston Lava Tube make nice with the music of the Beatles. Lots of creativity, some more successful than others, and all fun. I'm no fan of the Beatles, but I must say there are some really good interpretations here. Right spiffy, boys and girls!
Picks: Surfin' USSR, A Hard Day's Night, Maxwell's Silver Hammer A, Helter Skelter, Maxwell's Silver Hammer B, With A Girl Like You, And Your Bird Can Sing, I Am The Walrus, When I'm 64, Revolution 9, Please Please Me, Across The Universe, I Feel Fine, She Loves You, I Will, I'll Be Back, I Wanna Be Your Man, What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?, A Day In The Life, Free As A Bird

Track by Track Review

Surfin' USSR dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With no shortage of tongues in cheeks, the Thurston Lava Tube twang and whammy their way through the Beatles' "Back In The USSR," with Good Vibrations Theremin and pumpin' organ. It's just too fun!

A Hard Day's Night dotdotdot
Fuzz (Instrumental)

Hinting of Davie Allan, "A Hard Day's Night" features fuzz guitar and big organ drama. It works surprisingly well!

Maxwell's Silver Hammer A dotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

The organ carries the lead in this almost carnival treatment. Suave in a mall sorta way.

Helter Skelter dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Helter Skelter" seques right outta "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" with big twang and edgy power. Intense and aggressive, with pounding drums. It seques right back into "Maxwell's Silver Hammer."

Maxwell's Silver Hammer B dotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

This is a shorter almost churchy version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" acting as the other bookend to "Helter Skelter."

With A Girl Like You dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tasteful surf tone gently plays the melodic lead lines to "With A Girl Like You," while the swirling Leslie pumps in the wings. Very nice.

And Your Bird Can Sing dotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

The constant swirl of the organ clears the way for the guitar, while the drums rock and the bass rumbles.

I Am The Walrus dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This relatively non melodic song doesn't hold up very well instrumentally, though a glissando or two give it a surf feel. Tuff guitar and love for the Fab Four prevails.

When I'm 64 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Backwards stuff and a few samples meander over a distant organ fluffily oozing "When I'm 64."

Revolution 9 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The words "number 9" are replaced by a relentless guitar riff. Too repetitious for me. Interesting that "Revolution 9" is track 10.

Please Please Me dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damped surf chunk rhythm and guitar whammy twang introduce a shimmering Euro guitar lead. What they do here is quite interesting. It's fairly light weight, and on the odd side, yet is quite endearing. Fine energy and plenty of guitar technique changes.

Across The Universe dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The floating melody line sounds quite good in damped reverb. Semi dramatic, and liquid cool. The organ gives it a reverent feel, while the rest of the arrangement straddles the line between surf and quirk. Very cool!

I Feel Fine dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

That big guitar intro riff yields to a compressed fuzzy square wave assault over thundering drums and grumbling bass. The organ brings in a carnival atmosphere for an upsetting and endearing playful sound.

She Loves You dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"She Loves You" is a good melody for an instrumental treatment, and the arrangement here is very complimentary. It has the feel of the Saturns' "Voyage Around The Moon" from the soundtrack to That Thing You Do.

I Will dotdot
Back Porch (Instrumental)

With a faux jaws harp, this tweaky version of "I Will" is on the electro back porch side of the aisle.

I'll Be Back dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"I'll Be Back" is a nice vehicle for the suave side of the Thurston Lava Tube. Great drums and cheesy grins, with liquid organ and a groovy beat. Too cool, almost slushy in a way you can't dislike.

I Wanna Be Your Man dotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

One of many songs they threw away, "I Wanna Be Your Man" was an early recording for the Rolling Stones. Great drums and cheesy organ.

What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? dotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

The fuzz against disquieting drums and collapsing structures is more than a little weird, yet kinda magnetic.

A Day In The Life dotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

Piano and rising backward weirdness, plus John Lennon samples. Once into the song, it's more or less surfy and sports a solid beat. Splashy and cool.

Free As A Bird dotdotdotdot
Mall Organ (Instrumental)

The ocean laps at the shore while tribal drums gently provide meter for a shimmering vibrato guitar. "Free As A Bird" is very pretty in a lagoon summer kinda way. Excellent track.