Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
20,000 Leagues - No Surf Heredotdotdotdot
artworkConceived as 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, this Las Vegas band has a line on an original corner of the surf instro spectrum. Trad based, they are capable of unusual style mergers and original writing. This three song CD demo (not available for sale) includes two covers, one with a unique arrangement and one trad, and an original played solo on guitar. It begs more to come. The band is Justin Saragoza - guitar, Don Trimmer - bass, and Gary Levin - drums. Justin is also bassist for the Surf Men.
Picks: Wipe Out, Surf Party, Callville Bay

Track by Track Review


Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is a hard song to cover, for many reasons, from a tendency to try to reproduce the original Surfaris' classic, through the impossibility of replicating the fluidity of Ron Wilson's drums, to the shear volume of pedestrian covers. The ones that stand out are those that show some fresh creativity in the arrangement; those that breathe new life into the song. This one falls into the latter category. The track opens with a glissando and a guitar flourish that does not hint at the tune to come. The first verse is pretty trad, with the first drum break beginning the deviation via a double picked guitar accompaniment in addition to the accent chords. The second verse moves into a slightly jazzy interpretation of the guitar lines. The second drum break is entirely nontraditional, more of a long solo with lots of drum whackage and experimenting, accompanied by some guitar work of equal character, before dropping back to "the drum riff" we all recognize. The last guitar verse is quite stylish and very energetic. Overall, it's quite a nice change from the usual "Wipe Out."

Surf Party dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Astronauts' original version of the William Dunham - Bobby Beverly tune is roundly energized here. The arrangement is true to the single, and the playing is quite good. Solid percussion, pumped bass, and fine reverb guitar. While not experimental, it is most enjoyable. It even fades at the end like the original film score.

Callville Bay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very nice guitar solo track, swimming with surf reverb and whammy twang. It's delicate and quite original. Without bass and drums, it is free to float on the pure tone of the genre. Without the restrictions of the trad definitions, it is free to communicate "surf" without being derivative. Short at a minute-twenty nine, but satisfying.