Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Vibratos - Pipeline Promodotdot
artworkThis CD-R is distributed with Pipeline #63 (Spring 2004), and is compiled from Ghosts Of Old Compton Street and The Cappuccino Kid. I suppose if your a fan of the band, this would be a cool addition to the mag, but for me and from a surf perspective, it's not really very interesting or compelling.

Pipeline is a must-read publication that has steadfastly reported on and supported the instro scene from the UK for a very long time.
Picks: The Human Jungle, Ghost Train, Zapata, Surf Rider, Starfire, Shakin', Vibratos Medley

Track by Track Review


The Human Jungle dot
MOR Spy (Instrumental)

Stereo damped-delayed rhythm guitar accompanies a sad Euro spy lead guitar, back with horns and piano and a restrained rhythm section. Think of this as MOR spy music, and you'll be pretty darn close.

Ghost Train dotdotdot
Faux Surf (Instrumental)

"Ghost Train" presents an odd blend of a surf rhythm pattern pumped out on keys over a not-quite-surf drum beat. A little Indian and hinting of surf, yet not rising above the UK guitar sound too far. It is nice to hear something that's not a Shadows clone from a UK non-surf band. This is not the Swanks' "Ghost Train," but rather a song of the same name from UK legend Bert Weeden.

Zapata dotdotdot
Faux Surf (Instrumental)

Lurking between surf wannabe and Euro guitar, "Zapata" is perhaps a lot more successful than most here at striking a balance that works. Not quite a melody, but more than a riff, it is entertaining and well recorded.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Faux Surf (Instrumental)

More surfy than the Ventures' original, but much less fluid than the classic Lively Ones recording. This is quite subdued, with organ and very lightweight guitar. While it amplifies well, it's hardly energy or emotion changed. Still, it's a very listenable track.

Starfire dot
Cheesy Organ (Instrumental)

"Starfire" is a flippant light weight song in the shadow of late fifties organ instros. It's OK, but very subdued, like an octogenarian band rockin' back and forth on the swing on the porch while they reminisce about gigs past. More or less just pleasant fluff.

Shakin' dotdotdot
Heavy (Instrumental)

Well, this sure is different. Heavy grumble and meanness delivered by a well chosen riff. The ominous fifties gang instro sound is approached, and the mood dark. Vibrato and danger. Cool track.

Vibratos Medley dot
Western Theme (Instrumental)

This is a twenty-two minute verse at a time medley of a large number of songs that must be from the UK. I don't recognized most of the melodies. About half are very lightweight MOR fluff. It opens with "Rawhide" (the theme from the TV western), which is interestingly rearranged. It has a catchy rhythm and inviting sound. A couple of other melodies I do recognized include a squishy version of "The Boxer," the main riff from "The Nutcracker Suite," and "Friday On My Mind." The production values vary a lot, and the transitions sound like edits as opposed to an actual medley performance. For me, "Vibratos Medley" mostly just takes a lot of time.