Reverb Central: The Best Of [CD] ****

Phil Dirt 

These guys are amazing! This CD includes tracks from the early sixties and recent gems as well. A grand cross section of their work. I think they have more power today than ever before, and they sure have retained their ability to create frantic raging instrumentals.

Picks: Bombora, Mirage, Reef Break, Surfers Paradise, In The Shadows, Moon Man, The Crusher, Gremlin From The Kremlin, Bluebottles, Transatlantic, Glassy Walls, Flight Of The Surf Guitar, Giant, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Rumble and Run, Greensleeves, Point Zero, Gatecrasher, Shark Attack, War of the Worlds, Night Star, Atlantica, Stompin’ Time, Warp 5, Saturday Night

Track by Track Review

Bombora * * * * *

Surf (Instrumental)
This is great! The damped chops are more grodie with big room reverb, and rhythmic rumble very powerful. The lead is less piercing, giving the track a fuller more US period sound. Exceptionally cool and infectious! Worth the price of the disc all by itself!

Mirage ****

Surf (Instrumental)
“Mirage” has an almost Eastern European melody line, and creates picture of Gypsies and optimism. Quite a nice track!

Reef Break ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Solid Atlantics surf, with powerful drums, a melodic guitar line, ample twango, and much charm. Great rockin’ energy. The low-E verse is pure surf. Excellent. Your melodic guitar lines require ample twango and charm, and you’ll need to power that low-E verse!

Surfers Paradise ****

Surf (Instrumental)
In a strange way, “Surfers Paradise” has an “Endless Summer” feel to it, with a beautiful flow and easy attitude. Lovely and quite tasty.

In The Shadows ***

Surf (Instrumental)
As you might expect from the title, this seems inspired by the Shadows’ “Dance On.” It’s very tasty, and haunted in a playful way.

Moon Man ****

Surf (Instrumental)
An Outer Limits intro and the trademark whammy of the Atlantics come together for a fine instrumental with appeal and edge. Great drums, solid bass, and boss guitars. This is simply fine.

The Crusher ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Twangin’ cool Aussie-Shadows one-upmanship with the Atlantics’ signature rapid drums. Written by drummer Peter Hood and guitarist Jim Skiathitis, you’ll need to play it loud. Really strong!

Gremlin From The Kremlin * * * * *

Surf (Instrumental)
Tuff vintage Aussie surf with fine guitar work and great drums. Lots of energy and fiery playing. And, did I mention those drums?

Bluebottles ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Boss vintage Atlantics with a sound that’s a cross between their aggression and the more subdued Euro styles. The muted guitar parts are simply superb!

Transatlantic ****

Horror Surf (Instrumental)
At seeing the title, I had visions of the Aquamen’s “Ride A Pale Horse” set to reverb. It was not to be. It was not to be. “Pale Rider” is a slow sludgy surf dirge, a morose death march with reverb. The down nature of the song is an inversion of what surf usually is, yet it is quite compelling. Chilling vibrato, distant chorus, and that ultra slow pace stretched out for 5-1/2 minutes. It ends up being a perfect funeral march for a fallen rider.

Glassy Walls ***

Near Surf (Instrumental)
An attempt at surf, but a Shadows sound and little surf feel. The damped echoplex bits are nice.

Flight Of The Surf Guitar *****

Surf (Instrumental)
Yikes! What a great album opener. Somewhat like a Jon and the Nightriders number, this spectacular track has Dusty Watson-like drum drive. Imagine your furious guitar work and great glissandoes out front of this monster. Lots of power and finesse.

Giant ***

Surf-like (Instrumental)
Intense racing tune. Big whammy chord dramatic. If it were double picked, it could be a grand surf tune.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic ****

Surf (Instrumental)
This is just too fun! The classic children’s song gets the full tilt Atlantics treatment while retaining the requisite grins. Simply a joy to listen to! Believe it or not, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded a fine version in 1967. They were being cute, this is rockin’ cool!

Rumble and Run *****

Squad Car Surf (Instrumental)
Fade in intro with sirens, and your ominous lead belting out stinging notes. Much like the original, except a much better recording and more wisdom. Inspired by the Shadows, driven by Aussie lager, and quirked into perfection with your demented pick-foolery. A really cool song. Intense. Written by drummer Peter Hood and guitarist Jim Skiathitis.

Greensleeves ***

Surf (Instrumental)
This traditional song sounds very good in the atmospheric wash the Atlantics have created for it. Lush, delicate, and beautiful.

Point Zero ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Unlisted, this is past a long silence at the end of “The Crusher.” The sea shore sounds and yakking of party goers precede a “Surf Beat” intro. Surf riff rock with an eye on the tribal dance of the Rendezvous Ballroom. Fun and primal surf.

Gatecrasher ****

Surf (Instrumental)
the Halibuts’ catchy “Hammerhead” is an interesting vehicle for the Concaves. It’s energetic and pumpin’, and the melody line is optimistic as are all Pete Curry songs. Great stuff!

Shark Attack ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Heavy low-E number with Shadows twang all over it, and those speeding drums. Very nice.

War of the Worlds *****

Guitar War (Instrumental)
This is a superb new version of one of their fine vintage instros. Where the original did not capture my attention, this does. Thick racing pace and stinging guitars, dark energy, atmospheric danger, psychedelic edge… need I say more! Wonderful!

Night Star ****

Surf (Instrumental)
Slow and silky, “Night Star” floats across an evening sky with a fluid and intense guitar. Both moody and pretty, yet powerful as well.

Atlantica ****

Discotheque Surf (Instrumental)
High flying, spacy, whale-call echoed, and very modern, “Atlantica” is exotic, Latin, infectious. The scream of the guitar is very modern and intense. A bit noodly at times, but quite cool.

Stompin’ Time ***

Rock (Instrumental)
“Stompin’ Time” features chunky chords and a basic riff. It’s manic, frantic, and like frat rock for instro buffs, with superb drums. Yikes!

Warp 5 ****

Surf (Instrumental)
“Warp 5” is an aggressive song in the classic Atlantics mold, but with thundering drums and a thick sound that’s everywhere at once. Stinging guitar work and pummeling drums and bass. Quite good!

Saturday Night ****

Surf (Instrumental)
The melody line here is mighty close to the Nobles’ version of Link Wray’s “Black Widow” while still not being derivative. Punchy and driven, with powerful drums and spunky guitar work over solid bass. A tight and fun track.