Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Way Out West - Revolutiondotdotdotdot
artworkThis is an interesting set of tunes. Much of it is reissued from their first two albums. Way Out West wasn't widely available outside Europe, so for the rest of us, this is an invaluable timeline of their excellent recordings. The new tracks just make that sweeter. Revolution is a fine release.
Picks: The Cruel Sea, Poser!, Big Gun, Bermuda Triangle Shorts, Out Of Limits, Penetration, Surfari, Evolution, Stampede, Saturday Night At The Duckpond, Banzai Washout, Surf Party, The King Is Dead, Weird Things, Scratchin', Motorhula, Where is Mrs. Bond, Big Blue, M.P.I., Lost Highway, Frog Attack, Mr. Rebel, Surf Connection, Swingin' Creeper, Beatnik, Branded, Papiertiger, Container Love, Container Love (Backwards)

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.

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.

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.

Bermuda Triangle Shorts dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lovely muted reverb patterns bring on big whammy chords and lots of surf splash. "Bermuda Triangle Shorts" is a catchy number with an uplifting melody line and warm sound. This very enjoyable track is a modern surf instro based i traditional sound.

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.

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."

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.

Evolution dotdotdotdotdot
(Instrumental)

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.

Saturday Night At The Duckpond dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" was transmuted into a Shadows' classic many moons ago. With surf guitar in the lead, and whammy chords at the perimeters, "Saturday Night At The Duckpond" becomes a surf classic as if it skipped over the British sound altogether. Very cool.

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas's superb instro from the Catalinas' studio sessions is done with rich surf and reverb. Where Billy Strange's guitar was angular and intense, the lead here is round and splashy. Portions of "Miserlou" are used for the break. Excellent!

Surf Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an unusual cover of "Surf Party" because the melody line is incorrect. The changes are not a negative, unless you are expecting those originally written by Bobby Beverly and William Dunham. It's a powerful and engaging version, not really too far from Jon and the Nightriders.

The King Is Dead dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The King Is Dead" is a grand track with a familiar feeling and warmth. The melody is very strong, and the edge engaging. It's a bit haunting at times, and the drums rock. The melody reminds me a bit of some of the Super Stocks' songs.

Weird Things dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums launch "Weird Things," a tribal and slightly dangerous song with a sense of slightly risky adventure. With a touch of edge and a smattering of drama, the song demands you come back for more.

Scratchin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick heavy surf chunk, rumbling with a tribal churn and a damped chop, like a Packards tune played with a Frank Novicki chop and a grin. This is very cool. I found it growing on me as I listened. Great drums, and an excellent example of the power of simplicity when combined with runway chunk.

Motorhula dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Drivin' down the highway, running on empty, and looking for surf. "Motorhula" sports a fine ska beat and a fluid melody with a flavor of the Ray Beats. Quite a nice track.

Where is Mrs. Bond dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

James Bond's mom floating placidly on a pink 9'-6"" McCoy sporting a plaid bikini... it's quite an image, but that's the story here. "Secret Agent Man" and James Bond themery are blended. Even so, I don't think that either spy would mind the miscreant merger. A solid spy medley in a different arrangement.

Big Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very tasty damped reverb guitar parts accent this three guitar floater. It glides by with a rich swimming ambiance and an infectious feel. Melodic, fluid, and picturesque. "Big Blue" is more than an afternooner, nut less than a rocker. It drifts somewhere between big surf and shore break.

M.P.I. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"M.P.I." suggests espionage and drama with its very spy rhythm pattern. Certainly more about the imagery than a melody, it is nonetheless a fine track. The drums are really good, as is the playing and arranging.

Lost Highway dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing whammy, peaceful lagoon flow, and gentle breeze after a storm imagery. It's a bit sad, yet optimistic. very pretty and very enjoyable. The tone is both subdued and warm.

Frog Attack dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Amphibian assault, wart patrol, lily pad warfare... The imagery of the title is matched by the infectious rhythm track and the great vibratoed reverb guitar. Very catchy and warm, playful and fun.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's classic ode to Reb Foster given a new lease on life by removing some of the beat orientation and replacing it with reverb ring. The result is a more fluid less percussive track that still retains the charm of Eddie Bertrand's most familiar work. An excellent cover.

Surf Connection dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Traveling down the highway, searching for a decent break, with car 54 not far behind. This is edgier than the rest, with a distorted guitar and a menacing backtrack. Pumped danger.

Swingin' Creeper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic Ventures' track from their Go-Go period is superbly surfed up. Way Out West employ great drums, very cool muted plucking, and delicate energy. I didn't expect to much, because other versions I've heard are either clones of very unimaginative. This is very good.

Beatnik dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Beatnik" is an aggressive and fun rock track with edge and a touch of mathematical drama. This angular number is very non-surf, with distortion and rock structures.

Branded dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is quite an original arrangement of Link Wray and his Raymen's "Branded." It nods to the Rolling Stones' "2120 South Michigan Avenue" in its soulful bass line and low key construction, but then there are the bridges and the break where loud distortion rules.

Papiertiger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Throbbing tremolo and stinging edge give this fairly unmelodic track an intensity and attraction beyond its mere writing. It's not often a band can make a very simply progression into a superb dramatic track, but here it is. Excellent!

Container Love dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stereo muted reverb dribbles out an Italian sounding piece with a frothy melody and light hearted beat. "Container Love" really captures you without bowling you over. Its gradually building command and evolving arrangement are very good. Great drums beat, catchy rhythm, and a very cool sound.

Container Love (Backwards) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You might have guessed that this is a brief reprise of "Container Love" run backwards.