Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The Ventures - New Depths (Wild Again Vol 2)
|It's been a long time since the Ventures have made a really good disc. Most have little life, or just a few good tracks. Somehow or other, they found their electric Viagra®, and have put together a mostly solid CD of new material, with the help of a few friends. At least, that's how it starts out. As you go down the track list, they start to get ordinary, then dismissible, and finally you wonder why-oh-why? They are the chameleons of rock, but do they have to bury their sizable playing talent under bad arranging? The Ventures on this disc: Bob Bogle - lead guitar, Don Wilson - rhythm guitar, Jerry McGee - bass, Leon Taylor - drums. With the Rice Girls singing, "Kanari Kiteru Koi" is just cute, but the glissandos are cool.|
Picks: Hurricane, Drums A Go-Go, Bombora, Hot Doggin', Calhoun Surf, Banzai Pipeline, Web Surfin', Time Is Tight, Stop The Music, Spanish Armada, I Fought The Law, Hideaway, Cry For A Shadow, Blue Dawn, Peter Gunn, Flower Of The Sun, Axel F. / Miami Vice, Trailblazer, Wipe Out 2017
Track by Track Review
Really cool guitar licks on the second guitar remind me a lot of the Bambi Molesters. This stunning original powers the infectiometer to 10 with great rhythms and guitar lines. Remarkably friendly track.
"And you're educated? You don't know SHIT!" So says the New Yorker in the opening. This is a playful track, with punches and cries interspersed, early eighties Dick Dale-isms on the guitar, and a dominant organ role.
Stompin' fifties progression surf churn. Pure party fun, driven by a pint or two for sure, with flying drum solos and splashy guitar chords, and a final reverb kick.
A mighty surfy power driven cover of Lee Hazelwood's classic. The arrangement is Astronauts amped up, with haunting organ rightly coolly supporting the mix with just enough level to create an atmospheric leap forward for this over covered tune. Totally infectious and a cut above the rest, except for maybe the Neon Spores and Cruncher's version.
"Quasimodo" is an utterly happy melody with a fluffy surf sound and an inevitable friendly face. It grows on you (but so do warts). It's got this almost childlike quality that you want to dislike but can't. Way fun.
Henry "Hodad" Mancini wrote this, the Astronauts surfed it up, the retro lounge crowd suaved it into your livingroom, and now the Ventures reconstituted the beat from detective to rock. This arrangement is quite different than any others around, less lounge lizard and more surf-rock. Bob Bogle's flying double picking is inspired to say the least. The keys are suitably ambient in the mix. Jeff Baxter's guitar lead overdubs seem superfluous.
This slightly oriental original would be way cool a little wetter (personal preference). It's a melodic riff over a standard surf beat. More spirited than some, this is a solid track with a friendly sound, and a cool rhythm. Some of the damped plucking is really cool.
Expecting whammy action? Nope, just fine double picked surf action and infectious playfulness. Traditionally structured. The lead guitar tone is quite round.
This is a fairly European sounding melody, and didn't stick in RAM after listening. Nice, but unremarkable.
A chorded Spanish influenced number with great double picked guitar parts and a more playful dryer guitar line as well. The track seems to bounce between the surf and the beach snack shack. Very fun and quite unusual.
Tribal drums, choppy chords, stompin' progression, and chunky attack. Double picked single note rages, and then a heck of a lot of power. It's amazing what can be done without melody... I usually dislike this sort of thing, but this is good.
Freddie Kings' R&B classic is played with reverence and suavité. Smooth and fluid.
The Beatles' only instro, played with that 1965 Japan Ventures sound, is just pleasant. Nothing special happening, except for the drum work.
Bob Spalding plays lead on this Wilson-Bogle-Spalding original. It's a fluid, not quite Euro melody piece with a South Pacific feel. Excellent listening, warm and well played.
Nasty with calm, restrained mean, maybe even diet evil. The detective lite approach is really quite effective. "Peter Gunn" takes on a whole new flavor. The seventies guitar hero break guitar doesn't work for me.
Slightly soothing tone, delicate glissandoes, and a Euro-Oriental melody. A nice track with Jerry McGee and Bob Bogle dueling on lead guitar.
Axel F. / Miami Vice
Then, after a really strong beginning to this CD, this throwback to their plastic inevitable vinyl pants period reminds you that they are the chameleons of rock. The percussion is cool in the break.
This smooth track falls into several camps, with surf glissandoes, rock elevator guitar tones, and an MOR chorus, it can't quite decide what it is.
Wipe Out 2017
Highly uninspired dry rendering of the Surfaris classic. Mel Taylor's drums are way weak when compared to Ron Wilson's.