This Boston-area instrumental act first came to my attention with a stellar live version of the song "Carl Needs A Pill" on the compilation CD called "Attack of the Killer Surf Guitars" (Shanchie 1997). The studio version of that song makes its appearance,along with 10 others, on this eponymous CD.
The instrumetal sounds of the Ray Corvair trio (Guitar, Bass, Drums) will be welcome music to the ears of fans of bands like Los Straitjackets, Aqua Velvets, The Space Cossacks and the Fathoms. The music could not be strictly catagorized as "surf", as most of the songs do not have all of the traditional surf music elements of a fast tempo, heavy reverb, staccato picking, lots of use of the whammy bar, etc., but some of these elements are thrown in the mix throughout the disc. This is very tough music to pigeonhole into a specific catagory--call it instrumental rock and be done it.
There is a "Film Noir" aspect to the overall mood to the disc, with lots of minor key forrays into dark musical alleys. Some of the song titles hint at Pulp-Fiction-type themes, such as "The Body in the Trunk" and "The Darkest Time of the Night". There are also some major key forrays into an almost funky sound filled with sixth and seventh chords from the guitar, such as the afore-mentioned "Body in the Trunk" and "Smoke". There's a Central American side trip on "Honduras" and a James Bond-esque reverb soaked sendup with the tongue-in-cheek title of "The Spy Who Couldn't Get Any Action". (Must not have been James Bond after all!)
One of the things that struck me about the live song that I first heard from this band was how good the recording sounded. This disc only improves on that sound. It's credited as a joint production of the band and Drew Townson, and these guys prove big time that they know what they're doing in the studio. This is one of the best sounding discs you'll hear in any genre. There are some tricks with overdubs, echo/tape speed effects and extra percussion, but most of the time you are hearing the trio locked in tight and playing as one. The drums sound very crisp and full, the bass comes through extremely clearly without dominating, and Ray's guitar work is quite good, although he does paint from a somewhat limited palettte.
This is a very satisfying disc to fans of instrumental rockin' music, and bears up to repeated listenings. I highly recommend this for anyone seeking to avoid vocals in their enjoyment of guitar-based rock-n-roll.
Great spy fi. Get it now and enjoy.
1. Punta 2. The Darkest Time of the Night 3. Carl Needs a Pill
4. The Bag 5. The Body in the Trunk 6. Crazy Doings 7. Honduras 8. Big Texas Surf 9. !Smoke! 10. The Spy Who Couldn't Get Any Action
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