ML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> Night In Old Town - review

Phil Dirt - Reverb Central PO Box 7240, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-7240 USA

Susan and the SurfTones
Night In Old Town
Label: Acme Brothers Recordings AB5457 CD

This is the new album from Portland, Oregon's Susan and the SurfTones . Ten nicely arranged instrumentals, a few of which are reinvented non-surf, originally non-instro cover. Susan Yasinski continues to impress me with her writing and ever improving sense of production.

Picks: Vincent 87, Deathmobile, Over You, Shanghai Hotel, Chinese Rock, End Of Days, For Your Love, Night In Old Town, Mexican Spaceman, If Not For You

"Vincent 87" (*****)
"Vincent 87 " is a very cool song with ab alluring melody line and wholly different sound for Susan and the SurfTones . Its paisley underground sound comes from the organ and structure. Mid tempo and very attractive, with a sense of lightheartedness. My fave here!
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Deathmobile"(***)
The rhythm guitar is fuzzed out, adding an edge and chunk to " Deathmobile ." The song is a little garage, a little biker, a little surf. It's a bit thick and slightly dangerous. Bassist Dan Fergusen wrote this and played the rhythm guitar.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Over You"(***)
Rhythmic chunk guitar chords back Avory's organ as she plays the melody line. The rhythmic chords are infectious, and the song works surprisingly well in instrumental form. " Over You " is a Brian Ferry /Phil Manzanera composition from their days with Roxy Music.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Shanghai Hotel"(***)
"Shanghai Hotel " is a bluesy number that roles along like it's late on a Saturday night in a soul food bar where surfers do the hang. Electric and modern, yet very much like Chicago Blues at the beach.
Surf Blues Instrumental Stereo

"Chinese Rock" (***)
"Chinese Rock " has a thick, kind of murky back of the club sound that befits the song's origin. Johnny Thunders on a surfboard? No, but a powerful and interesting morphing nonetheless.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"End Of Days"(****)
Susan 's melody is haunting and calmly aggressive here. The song's ambiance is a little spooky, but mostly it's warming and moody. Excellent arranging.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"For Your Love" (****)
Graham Gould 's biggest hit (from the Yardbirds ) gets an instro treatment that's more direct and less psychedelic. More evenhanded, yet with a sense of the period from which it came. A nice cover choice.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Night In Old Town" (****)
The title track opens from a bluesy bass line and playful guitar riff. " Night In Old Town " is a light weight fanciful song that reminds me of John D. Loudermilk 's instrumental work. Catchy and fun.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Mexican Spaceman"(****)
"Mexican Spaceman " is a very unusual song. I'm not sure where the title comes from, but the song is decidedly interesting in an unsettling sort of way. The strange little melody is twanged and stung above an odd beat.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

"If Not For You"(****)
This is a very interesting choice of covers. Bob Dylan 's song never sounded so cool. Warm, soft with edge, and a little sad. What Susan and the SurfTones have done with it is take the folk-pop out and replace it with a sunny afternoon on the coast. Very nice.
Surf Instrumental Stereo