Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
20,000 Leagues - Surfing Undercoverdotdotdot
artworkHenderson, Nevada's 20,000 Leagues started inauspiciously a few years back, and have shown significant growth since then. This 8 song CD-R demo, while needing some remixing and better drum recording, never the less shows a very reverent trad band playing their love of surf out to the fullest, and dancing on the waves of pure period surf with gentle loving variation. It's not often a straight surf cover set captures my attention, but this is a fine effort. Coming soon are hopefully the originals that go with this, and maybe one day a real CD. They are highly influenced by the Lively Ones, with some assistance from Jim Masoner, who has been cutting some tracks with Justin Saragoza's other band, Surfmen 2000. I'd love to see these guys live. I think they are as close to a modern Lively Ones as anyone out there.
Picks: Penetration, 94 Second Surf, Pipeline, Surf Party, Caterpillar Crawl, High Tide, Walk Don't Run, Mr. Moto

Track by Track Review


Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is probably the best cover of this I've heard in a while. It's just pure surf, no invention, no morphing, just recreated in the way the Woodies used to. Perfect surf.

94 Second Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This great obscuro is made into pure surf joy. Really solid, extra reverby, and more than a little infectious. It's melodic riff and Fender leisure combine to make the Kingpins' version pale.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The arrangement here is a lot like the Lively Ones'. The same kind of drive and double picked energy shines throughout. Quite nice, though the opening glissando is a little rough.

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.

Caterpillar Crawl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Strangers tune, as the Lively Ones arranged it, with more chunk and exquisite reverb. The string bending is shallower, but the effect is excellent. The break's long fluid double picked splendor is most appealing.

High Tide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is ultra pumped and splendidly reverbed. The sax parts from the original Lively Ones release are replaced by guitar. I think bringing the other guitar part way up in the mix will take this into the powerhouse category.

Walk Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a highly reverbed variation on the Ventures original arrangement, without the damped glissandoes of their surf reworking in '64. Lot's of chunk here.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs classic is reverbed heavily, with the piano parts picked up by the dry second guitar. The speed is upped some, and the effect is a very nice cover. The break is original, with some double picked stuff and unusual riffage. Excellent.