Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Thurston Lava Tube - The Pink Elephant With Nipples For Tusksdotdotdotdot
artworkAs I have come to expect, the Thurston Lava Tube have produced another off the beaten path album full of engaging and unique surf music. This release includes an file folder with a complete second album in mp3 format recorded live at the Rescue Rooms in 2004. That album is reviewed separately.
Picks: The Anchor Pigs, Argentinasaurus, It Is The Music Of The Thurston Lava Tube But It Is Performed Here By Pigeons, Fritter Capsule, Peruvogator, I Didn't Bite The Dinosaurs, Forgot To Put the Chain On Baxter, It Must Have Been The Mousse, Absurdo, Shit Weasel, Oh, What Happened To The Poor Bear?, Surf Rider, Wonderful Land, Mrs. Robinson

Track by Track Review

The Anchor Pigs dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The haunting swirl of the Leslie organ and the moody bass lines are accented with tribal drums. Together, they create a mysterious bed for the guitar melody. On the slow side of mid tempo, "The Anchor Pigs" is an inventive and emotional song with an interesting hook into the soul.

Argentinasaurus dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very catchy tropical beat and rhythm pump out the fun under a liquid guitar line. Perhaps the most catchy and grin-inspiring track here, "Argentinasaurus" is warm and endearing, and quite memorable.

It Is The Music Of The Thurston Lava Tube But It Is Performed Here By Pigeons dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tuning around the dial with dreadful squanks and static, the Thurston Lava Tube come across their own sounds transmuted into strangitudinal weirdness, coupled saxes and percussion.

Fritter Capsule dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Fritter Capsule" features lovely island chords and a warm tropical feeling, with great drums and spatial organ. Occasionally angular, but mostly fluid and fun. On occasion, the organ overpowers the song.

Peruvogator dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big reverb chords, chunky surf rhythm, organ and sax trading places. Quite unusual, with a surf platform transformed into a nearly jazz workout. Sometimes, a carnival is in sight. Other times, it's dark outsiders overtaking unwary riders. Very unique. It segues right into "I Didn't Bite The Dinosaurs."

I Didn't Bite The Dinosaurs dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a silly little filler that's strangely intriguing. Organ and percussion in a swirly sidebar to sanity.

Forgot To Put the Chain On Baxter dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzz, organ, bass thunder and great drums. "Forgot To Put The Chain On Baxter" is a thickly textured progressional track with a somewhat dramatic build up, much like film scores. Sometimes intense, often commanding.

It Must Have Been The Mousse dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fine liquid chords, a splendid surf guitar ringing with a very surfable melody line. The organ plays support along with the bass and excellent drums. Dribbling double picked lines and inviting chords are here too. The break sports a semi-psychedelic organ riff that reminds me a bit of the Neutrons (Wales).

Absurdo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy thunder, big combo swirl, and a sort of detective meets surfer feel. The tribal drums and bass, along with the surf guitar pulsing are very cool!

Shit Weasel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big drama, moody danger, tension, and a plodding progression. "Shit Weasel" is not melodic in the beginning, but it develops a melodic guitar line and a sense of a thickened Iron Butterfly song.

Oh, What Happened To The Poor Bear? dotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

This is an interesting track with wonderful drums, and an enticing combination of surf guitar rhythm and airy organ leads. The fall apart jazzy middle creates a sense of imbalance, no an unbalanced mind. The song moves between sanity and imagination with ease.

Surf Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What a fine cover of Nokie Edwards's most covered surf instro. Liquid surf guitar on the right, organ warmth on the left, solid bass in the center, and wonderful drums all around. It's simple, but aurally rich, and very nicely done!

Wonderful Land dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This (more or less) best of the Shadows' instros, written by Jerry Lordan's exceptional pen, is not just another cover, which is a good thing, given the vast number of covers that are little more than copies. The surf guitar adds a sound dimension, as does the organ's atmospheric tone. Very nice.

Mrs. Robinson dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mrs. Robinson" has only been covered as a surf instro twice before that i know of, by the Coolies and the Mallards. This arrangement is wholly original, with tribal drums and a rich darkness. The rhythm guitar is very cool, as is the lead, and the organ's haunted tone, transmuted to edgy lead in the break, adds yet another engaging difference. The song's middle begins like a slow motion car crash you can't look away from. It dissolves into a hazy Grateful Dead at the Fillmore swirl, before returning to the sanity of the song. The stage announcements at the end are peculiar.