Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Undertows - S/Tdotdot
artworkThe music here is a combination of surf and attempts at surf through the structures of early rock instros. A few songs are pretty strong, but many seem to be underdeveloped. This CD-R collects a number of ambiently recorded tracks, perhaps early in the development cycle. The low quality of the drums give the CD an amateur sound, as do some of the less melodic tracks.
Picks: Avenger, Merseyside, Chupa Cabras, Firecracker, Boomerang, Rancho Cucamonga, Flashpoint, Marengo, Devilry, Venturesome, Moon Over Pompeii, Wicked

Track by Track Review


Avenger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is based in the tradition of vintage instros with a simple riff driving the track. "Avenger" sports some nice whammy action, and big twang. While it's just a demo mix, the song is quite compelling.

Merseyside dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The jangle you'd expect from a song titled "Merseyside" is here. It reminded me immediately of Gerry and the Pacemakers frothy pop ballads.

Chupa Cabras dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chupa Cabras" (isn't it actually chupacabras?) may be misspelled "Churpa Cobras" on the label, but the Mexican flavor and mysterious moodiness and ambiance create a black lace vision of mythical creatures seen through rose colored glasses. Dramatic and romantic.

Firecracker dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Firecracker" is a light weight instro with a catchy little riff and hand claps. It has a vintage small combo rock sound that's quite warm.

Boomerang
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boomerang" is an empty audio file. No sound, and no length.

Rancho Cucamonga dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the heavier side aurally, "Rancho Cucamonga" is a riff driven instro that's more basic than I normally like, but it also has some nice moments, a good bridge, and enough splash to keep it interesting.

Flashpoint dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A chord romp in the fifties instro progression style that so many b-sides employed. Gentle and sporting a great damped verse.

Marengo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cowboys and cactus, serapes and canteens. "Marengo" is a very good song with a grin and a real sense of the outdoors by horseback. The drums are doing great things and the bass is quite solid. The weak recording holds this back from being a full fledged monster.

Devilry dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stompin' and rompin', "Devilry" displays carefree cutbacks and drops. More chord dominated than surf is, but still fun.

Venturesome dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mess of Ventures styled melodies and borrowed bits, you can think of it as derivative, or you can view it as a tribute, which I think is more the case. It is full of the life that early Ventures tunes had.

Moon Over Pompeii dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The throb of the vibrato guitar gives emotional content to a pretty melody. The intensity of the vibrato is at odds with the softness, giving it a kind of uneasy tension that seems to add to the mood. Very nice song.

Wicked dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and moody, double picked and dangerous. "Wicked" is more or less a standard riff based surf romp. The beaks are not very interesting, but the transitions back into the melody line are.