Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Way Out West - Evolutiondotdotdot
artworkThis mini album (8 tracks) is the first issue from Way Out West. There are three originals and five covers, but what they do with the covers is fresh and exciting. You'll look at a title like Penetration and say to yourself "oh not another version of that song," but if you let that prevent you from listening, you'll miss some fine arranging and fresh presentation ideas that help make these covers their own. This is a fine CD.
Picks: the Cruel Sea, Big Gun, Out Of Limits, Evolution, Stampede, Penetration, Poser!, Surfari

Track by Track Review

the Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky and energetic, this common cover is driven from the gut, with pounding drums and ample twang. The gentle wave settling at the shore after breaking end is a nice touch. This is the Mike Maxfield composition from his days in the Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas.

Big Gun dotdotdot
Pacific Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

Big chord grind, organ progression, and thick sound. The structure is much like the fifties instros, based on a riff without a melody. Maybe more like the Pacific Northwest Sound than generic fifties rock. It's not very interesting, but is among the better organ centered tracks I've heard in a while.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From a delicate start, into a chordy power thing, then into an increasing tempo for that familiar riff. This cover of the Mike Gordon / Mar-Ketts classic is faster than most, and much guttier as well. A refreshing change from your average limited rendition. The energy is really good, and I found myself able to ignore the "oh, another cover of that" syndrome and actually listen and enjoy. Good track.

Evolution dotdotdotdotdot

This is a pretty nifty track. It is a slow and sad melody, with damped second guitar perfectly delivering up a great plodding rhythm in sync with the open notes of the lead guitar. This is curiously intriguing. There's not much melody, but the sound and playing are extra friendly. Very fine track. Whammy chord suave, great reverbed plunkin', and a magnetic and gloomy surf melody. Moody, fluid, and haunting. This is a relentless surf rhythm track, fit for a leisurely cruise down 101 between Pismo and SLO, with an eye on Avila Beach from the South. Really nice track. Simple and pleasing.

Stampede dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

A rockabilly instro that's been over covered. This is much thicker and chunkier than others, and the extreme vibrato and drums in the break are too cool. This is driven, and very enjoyable.

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyramids' classic has been arranged in more ways than you can imagine. Here, the pristine damped second guitar is replaced by big chord grunge, giving it a different feel, louder and more screaming. The brilliant super high flying notes in the final verse are incredible. The splashiness is superb here. This may be the first truly original arrangement since Yeah Yeah Noh's version on their Mrs. Quill 12."

Poser! dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big surf guitar grind, dark tones, and big chord crescendos. The riff based melody is delivered with a lot of energy, and the power is very evident. It's a lot like minor Dick Dale tracks in structure and style. Cool.

Surfari dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' self-named track powered up with major drive. The thick tone and fine double picking are a great listen. Lots of flair on the guitar, and the mean sax in the third verse is very cool. Solid cover. It ends with close to a minute of the sounds of the surf.