Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Vanguards - Comancherodotdotdot
artworkThe Vanguards were originally formed in 1961 as a Shadows inspired instro band, expanding to vocals in '63 under pressure from the changing music scene, playing and recording until 1969. In 1984, they regrouped, cutting this album in '86. The music is still born of Hank Marvin, but where he and the thousand-odd imitators got smoother and lighter over the intervening years, the Vanguards had been transformed by time with influences from hard European bands and metal sounds. This album is an interesting reinterpretation of their roots sifted through the gritty screen of soaring sustain and distortion.
Picks: The Breeze and I, The Rocket Man, Comanchero, Bleak House, Teen Scene, De Deilge, The Young Ones, Man Of Mystery, Another Goodbye, The Desperados, Twilight, Summer Holiday

Track by Track Review


The Breeze and I dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fairly big version of Ernesto Lacuona's classic "The Breeze and I" a.k.a. "The Breeze and I." While based in the Shadows tradition, it's a little like what might happen during the transition period had the Shadows evolved into the Scorpions. While this is not as scary as you might think, it's an interesting blend of easy listening and intense almost Uli Roth-like fire. Pretty cool!

The Rocket Man dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the largest version of this song out there. Intense howls and major power, as if a punk band was struck by the Shadows and surf (bass glissandos). It is also the version that inspired the Berzerkers to womp it into shape. Excellent track!

Comanchero dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

If there is such a thing as loud pop, this might be it. "Comanchero" is delivered in a very pretty post-soft setting, with rock guitar intensity. Moody, yet commanding. It's a slow song with depth and beauty. Quite cool.

Bleak House dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and well written in a Hank Marvin vein, delivered with loudness in mind, but subdued some while retaining edge. "Bleak House" is a very nice track.

Teen Scene dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Hunters' UK hit "Teen Scene" is played over the "Peter Gunn" rhythm, and aside from being significantly beefier and more string-bendy, it doesn't really fall far from the tree. Quite interesting.

De Deilge dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"De Deilge" is a softly flowing song with a moody after-the-rain feel. While it's quite pretty, it's not particularly memorable.

The Young Ones dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The thematic "The Young Ones" flows with an intensified Hank Marvin inspired guitar tone. While it's quite nice, it's not really set apart from the pack, except perhaps in it's sense of loudness.

Man Of Mystery dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' perennial favorite "Man Of Mystery" is very hot. The Vanguards' tendency to overdrive the guitar adds a stinging intensity to the song, and that drives it to new heights. Again, some of the string bending is reminiscent of Uli Roth. Yikes!

Another Goodbye dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a slow moody island fog kind of song, all slushed out for a romantic interlude with ear plugs in place. It's sense of loudness does add an interesting edge, but it does not rise about the OK mark.

The Desperados dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"The Desperados" is a hot cowboy-esq song with stinging guitar and a rolling beat. It's large and striking in a Shadows kind of way. Pretty excellent.

Twilight dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Tropical island slushy, Holiday Inn vacation metal all rubbed down with baby lotion. Pretty and magnetic in a strange way. Very tasteful, yet retaining rock credentials.

Summer Holiday dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Verging on soft surf via damped lines, "Summer Holiday" is a softly happy song with an uplifting easy going sound. The familiar melody is well placed against the rhythm track. Big, but not overpowering.