Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Waterdogs - Thermaldotdotdotdot
artworkThe Waterdogs deliver long serious instrumentals, unreverbed but surf often feeling. The album is well produced, and the arrangements are sullen and well developed. Moody most of the time, reminiscent of Henry Mancini's writing, played with smooth round guitar tone. This is a fine album for an afternoon adjacent to the surf.
Picks: Venturi, Experiment In Terror, Sputnik, Ballad of Johnny Halliday, SD 2050, Paint It Black, Where'd Ya Get That Bruise, The Hearse, Serendipity Adobes, 40 Dog, Blue Harem

Track by Track Review

Venturi dotdotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

Slightly dense and very smooth, this spaghetti flavored melody is laid out in a watery fashion over a solid backtrack of drums and bass, with a keyboard softly providing ambiance. The damped reverb midsection is cowboy surf. "Venturi" is somewhat moody and restrained, yet wields its own kinda power. Overall, this is a very tasty track.

Experiment In Terror dotdotdot
Dramatic (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's moody number finds yet another venue in yet another arrangement. The lead is fuzzy, but it's nothing like Davie Allan's version. Lumbering with anticipation and sadness, "Experiment In Terror" flows very smoothly, with the guitar delicately delivering an emotional appeal for the fear to end. Very cool.

Sputnik dotdotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

Damped chunky second guitar, and a great lead riff make this both interesting and fluid. The solid backtrack propels "Sputnik" like a topdown afternoon. While entirely dry and almost bluesy, it also serves well on the waves.

Ballad of Johnny Halliday dotdotdot
Melancholy (Instrumental)

Slow piano and shimmering vibrato guitar paint a pretty picture of melancholy afternoons. "Ballad of Johnny Halliday" is an endearing composition, and the performance is flawless. The sax adds more bluesy tone. It seems Henry Mancini inspired, though it's an original tune.

SD 2050 dotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

"SD 2050" slowly and deliberately provides a spaghetti-like melody line with a moody soul. Pretty, and fluid. The break is the coolest part, with a bit of feedback and choking.

Paint It Black dotdotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty respectful version of this Rolling Stones monster. The arrangement is basic, but very effective. Lots of power and guts. Instro bands seem to be drawn to this Jagger-Richard composition. First it was the Mermen as they included it in their "Middle Eastern Medley," then "King of Hawaii" and the "Sandblasters," and now the Waterdogs.

Where'd Ya Get That Bruise dotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

This remnant of the eighties Austin scene is way fun and sorta funky cowboy. This version of "Where'd Ya Get That Bruise" sports new dimensions, slightly less urgent and a bit more jazzy. very smooth. The Waterdogs are just the second band to cover Evan Johns and his H-Bombs' cool instro (the first being the Neon Spores).

The Hearse dotdotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of Lee Hazelwood's "The Hearse" is slow and silky, at the Al Casey pace. Very silky and smooth, with exotic bongos and a loungie feel. Very pretty, like maybe the Aqua Velvets would do it.

Serendipity Adobes dotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

Acoustic guitar and cowboy polka beat, with a round western lead. The Waterdogs give a moody desert sound to a fluid melody. Ringing with open space and free range lettuce. Excellent.

40 Dog dotdotdotdot
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)

Big fuzz sustain, secret agent bass line, punctuating drums, and a moody danger. Lots of drive, and even more coolness. The relentless rhythm track gives it a topdown highway feel. Dramatic and moving.

Blue Harem dotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing guitar tolls for a sad night in the harem. The melody line reminds me slightly of "Charade," but only in some ways. Very nice track.