Beyond the Sea / Various
This is a review of the 'Beyond the Sea' CD from Reverb Central. Various Artists Beyond The Sea 5 stars Label: Cordelia CD040 This is easily one of the most consistently good compilations I've heard in ages. Great bands recorded well with solid rearranging of standards. Inventive and excellent listening. The last 6 tracks reviewed here are the bonus mp3's on the label's website that simple would have stretched the time limit of the CD. THE SWAMP COOLERS 'My Favourite Things' 4 stars What a wonderful track. Makes you long for Christmas! The Swamp Coolers have done a wonderful thing with this song. It's surfy, reverby, grinningly warm, and simply delightful! Surf Instrumental Stereo LOS DERRUMBES 'Viva Las Vegas' 4 stars Talk about uplifting bounce. Los Derrumbes pump and grin thru 'Viva Las Vegas' as if the are on their way to the slots right now. Great energy and spirit! Surf Instrumental Stereo THE BITCH BOYS 'Take On Me' 4 stars The Bitch Boys simply always please my ears. This is a splendid track with a rich old world melody style and very playful surf sound. Thoroughly enjoyable and rich with surf textures. Surf Instrumental Stereo DON'S MOBILE BARBERS 'I'm Not in Love' 3 stars This is a nice rock arrangement of 10cc's soft rock ditty. I think Don's Mobile Barbers hit on a very surfable item, though they play in only the slightest reference to surf via shallow whammy. The warble adds a bit of eeriness. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE DETONATORS 'And Then He Kissed Me' [live] 4 stars Phil Specter's pomp and high school romance epic works really well here. Right up there with Slacktone's cover of 'Be My Baby,' this is both very surfable and very attractive, as well as a grin bringer. Cut in the Pit at KFJC, this is a wonderfully warm rendering of the classic Ronettes hit. Excellent! Surf Instrumental Stereo LOS FANTASTICOS 'Mexican Whistler' 4 stars This is really nice. Los Fantasticos play this with a delicate artistry that makes it very enjoyable. Beautiful, well mixed, and very well adapted to the idiom. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE GLASGOW TIKI SHAKERS 'Auld Lang Syne' 3 stars The ever creative Glasgow Tiki Shakers employ traditional surf sounds to the anthem of the new year. This is a splendid and very happy cover with real surf credibility. Excellent! Surf Instrumental Stereo THE PYRONAUTS 'Iron Board' 5 stars This classical tribute to Alfred Hitchcock uses the theme to his TV series. Amazingly cool interpretation, with warm island whammy and a solid surf beat. Double picked and liquid! Surf Instrumental Stereo KAHUNA KAWENTZMANN 'Je t'aime... moi non plus' 3 stars Egads, who'da'thunk! 'Je t'aime..' can actually be reverbed out into a swell song. Life will not be the same again. Moi Non Plus have arranged a beautiful and romantic surf-n-stroll version that's warm and inviting in a sunset kind of way. Surf Instrumental Stereo COBALT AND THE AQUABEARS 'Rock and Roll High School' 3 stars Dark whammy chords, boomy drums, cheesy organ, and heavy dependence on rhythm and mood, all add up to a spatial and strange rendering of the Ramones' 'Rock and Roll High School.' The mix is weird, though the distant have sound seems to create a ream sequence feeling that may just be the whole point. Surf Instrumental Stereo ESTRUME'N'TAL 'Redemption Surf' 4 stars 'Redemption Surf' has this playful melody line that's at odds with the intense assault of the delivery, which just adds to the compelling nature of the track. A marvelous exercise in happy punk - sort of. Surf Instrumental Stereo FUDGE 'Barbie Girl' 2 stars haunted reed-like keys, tweaky sampled sounding guitar throbbing in vibrato. Spooky in a cheesy haunted house kind of way. Surf Instrumental Stereo NOVA SURFER 'The One I Love' 4 stars Nova Surfer do a heavy version of REM's 'The One I Love.' The heaviness and the tweakiness, the organ, the long sustain on the guitar, the thick wash of sound, all counter the wistfulness of the song and create an inviting tension. The other band that rocks with this song is the Detonators. Surf Instrumental Stereo OUR FLYING SAUCER 'You Sexy Thing' 5 stars It opens innocently enough, but when the surf guitar comes crunching in on lead, it's more than your heart can bear. Our Flying Saucer have really honored 'You Sexy Thing' in a completely surf irreverent way. Stunningly cool! Surf Instrumental Stereo RNA 'Surfer Freak' 4 stars Starting out like a moody surf vision of a lagoon, moving into a rhythmic muted soundscape, 'Surfer Freak' becomes a fascinating rethink with a grin. The keys are silly in an endearing way. Wonderful! Surf Instrumental Stereo MONKEY VERSUS ROBOT 'The SpongeBob SquarePants theme tune' 3 stars Intentionally tweaked out, Monkey Versus Robot pretend with some surf elements that SpongeBob SquarePants is in their band, or at least it seems that way. Entirely too fun. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE ASTROGLIDES 'The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob' 4 stars 'The Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob' employs lots of different sounds, from a horn section and female chorus, to heavy surf guitar and great bass and drums. It's both magical and cheesy like sixties film scores tended to be. Scary and flippant, dangerous and flighty. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE VIVISECTORS 'Another Brick In The Wall (part II)' 4 stars Russia's Vivisectors mess with modern hip hop[ sensibility, industrial espionage, and surf for a very creative rethink of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall.' Soaring guitars, lots of production work, and a layered and commanding sound. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE MUFFINMATES 'I Only Wanna be with You' 3 stars Cheesy organ overtakes everything here; the guitars coolness, the drums, the bass, the glissandos. A better mix would bring this out of the murk into the light it deserves. Surf Instrumental Stereo URBAN SURF KINGS 'Hooray For Hollywood' 4 stars This cheesy song gains credibility after all these years at the hands of Nova Scotia's wonderful Urban Surf Kings. They morph into the surf envelope in a way that gives it a lot of listenability and durability. A wonderful track. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE LOST BOYS OF PENZANCE 'Cinnamon Girl' 3 stars Not real surfy, but the Lost Boys of Penzance have taken this venerable song into the fold quite nicely. A very nice track with warmth and delightful tone. Given Neil Young's roots in Canadian instrumentals via his early band the Squires, it's about time his material became fodder for the surfbands. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE RELUCTANT AQUANAUTS 'Travelin' Man' 4 stars Ricky Nelson's sad tale of his hard life as a teen star is melodic and happy in a way that really lends itself to surf. The Reluctant Aquanauts do really well with it. This is a wonderful sounding track that's all fun and splash. It's not cheesy at all, just real solid beautiful surf! Surf Instrumental Stereo PEGLEG 'Dance of the King of the World of Maya (Dance of Maya and King of the World)' 3 stars Floor tom rumbles, guitar slowly circles in shimmer. Pegleg does tweaky things with this, making it enjoyable in that special moment when you need a twisted grin. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE COCKTAIL PREACHERS 'Blue Velvet' 4 stars Bobby Vinton's sappy 'Blue Velvet' becomes suddenly very nice as the Cocktail Preachers revive it in their liquid style. No one around has better capture the spirit of the late fifties easy guitar lounge sound and morphed it into better surfable tracks than the Cocktail Preachers. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE THURSTON LAVA TUBE 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 4 stars In their own organ meets guitar way, the every fun Thurston Lava Tube make nice with 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' Starting out slow, it ends up rocking in it's own swirl of surf and mozzarella. Very nifty. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE AQUAMARINES 'Beyond the Sea' 4 stars San Francisco's Aquamarines play a rousing and too-fun cover of Bobby Darin's 'Beyond The Sea.' It has the kind of exuberant joy that Darin's hit has, and it's all surf, no frills. Quite fun! Surf Instrumental Stereo THE GLASGOW TIKI SHAKERS 'I Only Want To Be With You' 5 stars The amazing Glasgow Tiki Shakers have done wonders with 'I Only Want To Be With You' by using traditional surf styling and a grin. This beautiful track is a splendid example of just what can be accomplished with a little reverb and finesse. Frankly, I like this better than the other track they submitted which made the cut. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE SWAMP COOLERS 'El Diablo De Polvo' 4 stars This is a richly textured track with a catchy riff and whammy chords. The sound is unique to the Swamp Coolers. While the progressions are simple, they take unexpected turns that make this a very memorable song. Very nice! Surf Instrumental Stereo OUR FLYING SAUCER 'Mar Gaya' 5 stars This is easily the most unusual cover of 'Mar Gaya' ever! Very Middle eastern. The melody is played single-note style over a rich ethnically inspired rhythm track that's spectacular. This is a wonderful merger of surf and Middle Eastern sounds, and a complete inversion of the way the Fender IV intended. Since this song was inspired by Dick Dale's 'The Victor,' one has to wonder if this could be done there too! Marvelous! Surf Instrumental Stereo THE LOST BOYS OF PENZANCE 'The Disadvantages Of You' 4 stars The Lost Boys of Penzance have taken this TV ad song and turned it into a rich and frothy epic for a warm afternoon. I much prefer 'The Disadvantages Of You' to 'Cinnamon Girl' for a couple of reasons, but mostly because it's so light and fluffy. Surf Instrumental Stereo THE DETONATORS 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' 3 stars Those creative Detonators have some kinda fun with 'These Boots Were Made For Walking,' a song that has kept Nancy Sinatra on stage for almost four decades. Just fun! Surf Instrumental Stereo SCOTT COLBY 'Obligatory Blues' 2 stars Loud electric blues wailing, not a bit of surf. This one I understand not adding. It's very hot within it's genre, but not related at all to this comp. Rock Blues Instrumental Stereo.