Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Wipeouters - P' Twaang!!!dotdotdot
artworkMuch has been written about this release, and interestingly enough, almost all of it must be without actually hearing it, because most reports talk about the "vocal" release and the Devo sound. Yes, it's post Devo membership of Bob Mothersbaugh, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Robert Casale does impart the basic drift of Devo at the beach, and it does have a robotic rhythm about it, and there are electro noises throughout, but 9 of the 13 tracks are instros, and some are even surf inspired or derived. While it's way outside the envelope, it's also not unlivable. Fun like Devo, rhythmic and tweaky, this CD is entertaining and different. Vocals include "Twist 'n' Launch," the near classic Devo "Rocket Power Theme," the "Palisades Park" influenced party dance number "Luna Goona Park," and the strangely narrated "Shut Up, Little Man."
Picks: P' Twang , Dangerdog, Surf's Up on Goon Island, Bikini Beach, Ravin' Surf, Wedgie Wipeout, Wounded Surfer, Bubbie Boardsmen, Rocket-ful of Power

Track by Track Review

P' Twang dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

This is a relatively thick instro with fairly standard rock progression chords behind a rock guitar jam-like lead. Not really melodic, but kinda fun. The percussion in the break is kinda cool.

Dangerdog dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

"Dangerdog" is more like a backtrack than an instro, being kinda new wave based progression music more than surf. It's relentless and yet seems to be pretty friendly. There are some nice double picked guitar lines that give it a kinda disturbed mechanical surf edge.

Surf's Up on Goon Island dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Hmmm... a mono chord beat dominated track with strange middle eastern weirdness interrupting for an exotic sound. Seems a little contrived, yet by the time the lead comes in with it's repetitive lines, the stage has been set for jungle orgies and it no longer matters.

Bikini Beach dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Dissonant mechanized chunk beat, weird sounds, and very odd glissandoes permeate the twisted twang of this track. It's hard not to like it, even though it's just too strange. It even has a thread of surf running somewhere underneath the post modern mirth.

Ravin' Surf dotdotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

A more melodic progression, Captain Beefheartian samples, and a melody carried on a dry guttural guitar over tribal drums. While mostly electro strangeness, it's also infectious and could easily be transitioned into an actual surf song. Quite interesting.

Wedgie Wipeout dotdotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Dry thin twang, organ keyboard slides, classic "Walk Don't Run" influences, and a fine lead melody line. "Wedgie Wipeout" is mechanical, yet surfy in an onshore kinda way. Nifty stuff.

Wounded Surfer dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Spacy and tweaky, "Wounded Surfer" presents a sitar-ish sound with artificial tablas, yielding eventually to an urban beat. Mostly a rhythm track.

Bubbie Boardsmen dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Sorta Guitarski and Hutch at a barrio canteena. Chunky and rhythmic, relatively mechanical feeling, yet slightly aquatic. Unusual with a reasonable riff.

Rocket-ful of Power dotdotdot
Robot Surf (Instrumental)

Thick textured damped guitar chord chunk, nearly melodic in a sub Cramps kinda way, and with a certain twango charm. It took a minute or so to hook me, but then I started to like it. Nice glissando too.