have to admit, some tributes are hit or miss -- you may like some
tracks, but some of the covers may sound flat or uninspired, falling
short of originals' level of quality -- BUT NOT SO HERE. With this
release, the opposite is true. The songs take a new life of their own
and the end result is a genuine treasure. I've bought my share of instro
tributes, but this one is better than all. The reason? I have to
guess that it's got a lot to do with The Shadowy Men's status as one of
the forefathers of the third wave of Surf Instro, and being a seminal
band in both the US and Canada. Don't miss out on this one. A++ all the way.
1. Good Cop Bad Cop 2. Zombie Compromise 3. Shake Some Evil - Mulchmen
4. Egypt Texas - Insect Surfers 5. Customized 6. Harlem by the Sea 7.
Having an Average Weekend 8. Reid's Situation - Spy-Fi 9. Aunt's
Invasion - The Sandblasters 10. Hot Box Car 11. Jackpot 12. Ben Hur
Picked off in a Gazebo - Pop Defect, 13. Siesta Cinema 14.
Unwatchable/Three Piece Suit - Squid Vicious 15. That Wuz Ear Me Callin'
a Horse - Breakfastime 16. Spy School Graduation Theme - Squid Vicious
17. Mecca 18. Algoma Reflections - The Sadies 19. Peas Porridge Rock/You
Spin Me Round '86 - The Surfdusters 20. They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas
Anymore 21. Off Our Back Conrad Black - The Sawney Bean Band 22.
Memories of Gay Paree
With the emergence in the 1990s and 2000s of Scenic, Friends of Dean Martinez, Vivid Low Sky (the last of whom, like Shark Quest, are also from Chapel Hill), and now Shark Quest, there seems to be a mini-vogue for instrumental indie rock with a cinematic, desert-sweeping grandeur. This mine-genre is so small (and probably unlucrative) that it's impossible to accuse Shark Quest of bandwagon jumping. Nonetheless, for those familiar with the other acts named above, they'll spark unavoidable comparisons. Not so much to Vivid Low Sky (who, despite sharing the same hometown, have a harsher and more dissonant rock aesthetic) as to Friends of Dean Martinez, in the bent for twanging guitars and a certain Southwestern border feel. With both Friends of Dean Martinez and Scenic, there's an affinity with the soundtrack drama of Ennio Morricone. What, then, makes Shark Quest stand apart? It could be that they're more eclectic than any of those other groups, particularly via the folk influence added by Sara Bell's mandolin and banjo. There are unexpected sounds such as the "Shaft-like guitar on "Crazy Laura," and the classical cello on "Kell." The compositions and melodies are moody and haunting, the tempos and instrumentally varied. It's still more suitable for ambient diversion than foreground excitement, but it's a nicely done, decently imaginative recording.All Music review
1 Chicken Strings 2 All Ball 3 Race Dragging 4 Sesame Hijack 5 Crazy Laura 6 Kell 7 Hugging Is Affecting China 8 Here Sparky 9 Clocks In The Arctic
After a lengthy hiatus, Shark Quest returns with
Gods and Devils, a collection of pieces featuring works used as the
soundtrack to a work by self-taught counterculture animator Bruce
Bickford and also in Monster Road, a documentary on the animator's life
and rarely seen work. Much of the album is quite animated-sounding,
particularly the opening track, "The Rosetta Barrage," which, with its
intricate mandolins and twangy guitars, sounds a little like an
Appalachian take on a spaghetti Western theme by Ennio Morricone.
Morricone's name is often bandied about, along with those of Friends of
Dean Martinez and Calexico, when discussing Shark Quest, and for good
reason: all of these artists share an exquisite sense of mood and
atmosphere. Hints of surf bands like the Ventures pop up on the darkly
lovely "Sin the Moon," and while tracks such as "Three Ivy Leaves" still
feel like part of a soundtrack rather than a stand-alone work, an air
of restrained mystery runs through Gods and Devils. However, the album's
best moments, such as the spooky epic "Katherine of Krakow," have more
than enough presence in their own right. The wide array of instruments
used in Gods and Devils' arrangements -- which include steel guitar,
marimbas, all kinds of percussion, and a water bottle -- give the album
more color and texture than the group's previous work. A dreamy but
involving listening experience, Gods and Devils marks an important step
forward for Shark Quest. ~ Heather Phares
Rosetta Barrage Sin the Moon Three Ivy Leaves Shivers Katherine of Krakow Gibbous Orisha Furies On Fire
Blending beautiful guitar melodies with inspired beats and producing a
sound that might be like "surf jazz", the band continues to impress.
Each track in this album is long enough to enjoy the music, but short
enough to hold the listener's interest until the next song plays.
Musically, this album is quite diverse. Each track sounds like it could
be coming from a different band. This album makes me wish I had
synesthesia. I would be smelling roses, seeing a kaleidoscope of colors,
and tasting gourmet cuisine. Many different soundscapes. I recommend
for lovers of jazz or rock, for the album could easily be considered
1. Blake Carrington 2. Kool's America 3. Baii 4. Ellen's Theme 5. Lunch At Sara's 6. Dead Turkey Gulch 7. Armadillotron 8. In A Dive 9. 5 Dollars
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Am a musicholic - I'm 52 -- I heard my first Ventures song in '66 and have been a fan of twang ever since. Of course all the other guitar gods were added over the years, along with a lot of other great music. I have been a DJ in my younger years on air -- WPFW and in clubs and currently produce a local television show about the performing arts.