Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Undertoe - Friends Don't Let Friends Singdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a remarkable disc. Undertoe create soundscapes and structures that are wholly unique. A hint of the Mermen, a dash of Nektar, a smidgen of a weather front, and tribal ceremonies all blend in creative ways. This is an all instrumental CD, as you might guess from the very clever title. It's not casual Friday night surf stompin'. Rather, it's well thought out, emotional, and picturesque guitar music that takes you on an adventure to faraway places.
Picks: Button Down, Irastafarm, Desert Dry, Flyin' Cacti, Escalante Summer Days, Frozen Breath, Off The Cuff, Origins Unknown, Island Candy, Dock's Medicine, Hava Nagila, When It Rains

Track by Track Review

Button Down dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

A fifties boogie progression and beat all reverbed out and funned up. The walking bass line thumps of upright traditional rockabilly as does the lead tone. Pretty fun track.

Irastafarm dotdotdot
Quadraverb (Instrumental)

Reverbed and distorted lead lines scratch the blackboard like fingernails through a Quadraverb set to Large Hall 15. The riff is warm and a little haunting.

Desert Dry dotdotdotdot
Desert (Instrumental)

Haunting sorta spatial guitar sounding like a cross between prog and surf. The structure of this is very artful, and it reminds me a little of the Mermen, just not as deep and aquatic. This is a very interesting track, kinda like a liquefied Nektar.

Flyin' Cacti dotdotdotdot
Moody Cactus Surf (Instrumental)

A little hypnotic, slightly rhythmic, and slowly evolving from airborne cacti to grodie surfrider. The low-E double picked lead is dark and fluid, edgy and grumbly. Most unusual and enticing.

Escalante Summer Days dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Reverbed square wave guitar delivers an open road optimism. "Escalante Summer Days" sports a flowing melody riff and a thump.

Frozen Breath dotdotdotdot
Frozen Surf (Instrumental)

Mystical foreign scenes of tribal ceremony, delicate guitar imagery, and an artful structure. "Frozen Breath" presents the sound of being lost in a vast refrigerated landscape. Dramatic and classy.

Off The Cuff dotdot
Jam (Instrumental)

Kinda reminiscent of "I Don't Need No Doctor," "Off The Cuff" rolls and rocks within a jammy structure.

Origins Unknown dotdotdot
Sundown Surf (Instrumental)

Moody and quiet, like a lonely sundown on an abandoned cliff overlooking dark gently rolling swells. Very pretty and spatial.

Island Candy dotdotdotdot
Mystic Island Surf (Instrumental)

Motors going, great tribal drumming, rhythmic surf rhythm chunking out a Bo Diddley beat, and a melody line that's syncopated with the beat. It's a little like an updated "Mystic Island Drums" (Surfaris). Very nice!

Dock's Medicine dotdotdot
Western Surf (Instrumental)

A little of the cowboy, a touch of the medicine show, and a squinting view of the coast. "Dock's Medicine" is surf worthy and very tasteful.

Hava Nagila dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tuff version of the Dick Dale arrangement, heavily double picked, reverbed, and splashed. Grumbling low-E surf grind with a middle eastern edge. The break is wholly original with tribal drums. Soon the tribal drums bring in a delicate guitar dribbling "Hava Nagila" so sensually. Nice to see them doing something really new with this.

When It Rains dotdotdotdot
Howling Surf (Instrumental)

Excellent stereo thunder and rain bring forth a gentle scene of liquid skies viewed from limited shelter. very spooky and atmospheric. The guitar is heard from miles away drifting through the rain like a distant chupacobra howling for prey.