The Devil Went Down to George Street
The boys from Brighton are the Bomb. Honest! I would not lead you astray even though the boys will. They'll lead you to dance with the Devil, tally-ho! on an Iron Horse, play with bulls just off a famous Spanish surfing beach, and tantalize your senses in a Paris park - after you tango there, of course. And they'll make you want to nap under a pinion tree after you swing from vine to vine in the jungle. Oh, yes, the boys from Brighton are into the journey in a hugely thrilling way. Boys, boys, boys! What wonderfully naughty men you are!
Remember that old song with the lyrics, "anticipation is taking me away"? Well, in this case, I have to rephrase that to, "adoration is taking me away." Los Fantasticos are infreakincredible with their talent and laid down the trump card with a divine variety of sounds and moods.
Need a special treat? It's right here. I'll let you in on a little secret. This CD is going to give you a thrill and in mere moments you, too, are going be adoring Los Fantasticos. From Spaghetti Western to surf rock, the thirteen instrumental tracks that make up The Devil Went Down to George Street son muy Fantastico!
Mephistopheles - Faust desired complete knowledge so he made a deal with Mephistopheles. Me? I desire fireworks when I'm listening to music so I made a deal with Los Fantasticos' minute and a half of awesome music titled Mephistopheles. Listen to that freakin' drum! Guitars? Oh, baby, they got ‘em! And, hello! Is that a trumpet steaming out a musical version of the infamous Faustian phrase, "Stay, thou art so beautiful!" ??? You got it! Liszt would be awed by these dudes and this fantab track. You gotta love it when something comes out this great!
Iron Horses - I hear that train a comin', rollin' down the track. Iron horses (trains to the less dramatic) have to be one of the coolest inventions ever. You climb into a virtual house on wheels (on a track!) and go somewhere while peering out big picture windows at an ever-changing panoply of new and exciting scenery. Iron Horses has to be one of the coolest songs ever. You actually hear the train at the beginning, then in comes an instro with just as much variety as that changing landscape. There is stunning perfection in its ability to turn on a note without losing continuity. In train terms to "bend the iron" means to throw a switch and I suggest you do just what I did and bend the iron to a song that's going to take you on a journey of sounds you will never grow tired of hearing. Iron Horses will rock you down the line. I guarantee it!
First Tango In Paris - If you're familiar with the Last Tango, you'll be blown away by how marvelous the First Tango In Paris is. Remember when, in the movie, Jeanne said, "...the way he did it"? Ah, yes, it's the way he did it... the way Django, Paul, Tim and Abe individually are extraordinary musicians. The way they are, collectively, masters of making thrilling music. You'll dance to the entrancing double picking and the spellbinding backing. Come. Tango with me. It's all about the way you do it and Los Fantasticos do it oh-so-deliciously well.
Meanwhile Back in the Jungle - Get your boogie on! Hello monkeys in trees and primal drumbeats. Hello lively toe-wiggling, hip-shimmying guitars. Hello! Hello! Hello! The tribute to swing in the middle of Meanwhile Back in the Jungle curled my monkey toes. The guitars literally slide down the jungle trees and I'm not sure, but I think the coconut milk is spiked because I'm a bit giddy and seeing stars. Then again, maybe those stars are the sparks coming off the guy's instruments.
La Corida de la Coruña - Galicia never had it so good! That distorted guitar opening ran a chill up my spine just like trying to outwit, outrun or hide from a bull would. If I ever have to run down a street or enter an enclosed space with raging bulls chasing me, this is going to be on my iPod. I'm not kidding! It will make you go fast, faster, fastest. Oh, in case you do get tired, a minute and half in there's a respite that deftly helps you hide in a doorway or cubbyhole. Don't stay there long, though. Los Fanatasticos will grab your arm and yank you out of hiding to finish the party because they're taking your taurus-trampled ankles to a dance at the end of the melee.
Kind Hearts and Castanets - Continuing with the Spanish flair they're so good at, Los Fantasticos one-up the competition with a feisty combo of guitars and castanets. Hey, is that a guiro I hear? Yes, Gourdo, it is. Suddenly, in the middle, there's a half minute of uniqueness that would make the most die-hard improv fan scream, "I died and went to Heaven!" It's thick and wet here. It's maaahvelous!
A Hard Day for the Magnificent 7 - An acoustic enchantment, A Hard Day for the Magnificent 7 is satisfyingly mellow. It begs to induce a euphoric nap on a sisal hammock. The sun is out, it's maybe 80 degrees of yellow and the shade urges me to lie back and hear blue waves in the background and purple shadows creeping closer to my resting place. In my refuge, the bass drum beats a rhythm to my heartbeat. The riders who are coming are worn and weary to the bone. I'm waiting. It's been a hard day and now we all rest as the music softly disappears into the approaching night.
More Than Meets the Eye - Whoa! I'll tell you what's more than meets the eye. Los Fantasticos! Forget your love affair with Transformers and embrace a whole new transformation, dudes and dudettes. Grab a load of More Than Meets the Eye and get googly-eyed with an upbeat, sure beat, surf beat meets a dance beat trip down "aren't these guys gnarly!" road. Play it again, Sam.
Parc de la Villette - If you're in Paris you must go to the Parc de la Villette. If you're anywhere else, you must listen to this track. From the opening beat of the tom-toms to the ending note, Parc de la Villette epitomizes the essence and vivacity of Paris' grand central location for art and music. A strong rhythmic background keeps you living and looking for all of the brilliant artistry while a seductive lead guitar gently caresses your soul. Oh, hey, if you are in Paris, take Parc de la Villette along, too. You can't have too much art and music and you can't have too much Los Fantasticos, either!
The Devil Went Down to George Street - Ominous. Beelezedude is headed for a strut downtown to get some new duds - a tuxedo with tails just like Fred Astaire, to be exact. Apparently the Prince of Darkness thinks prancing on the ceiling is just plain old coolness to the max. The problem, though, is that Beeze is something of a brat and he wants to dance all of the way in and out of the stores where he, ahem, shops (he DID pay for that jacket, didn't he?). That's where Abe, Paul, Django and Tim came in. "I need struttin' music, boys," Beeze rumbled. Our fave Brighton foursome delivered in - I can't resist! - spades. The sinister interaction of guitars and drums are fleshed out with menacing thunder and torrents of obsidian rain. Sweeties, you can freaking strut to this song just like Lucifer at his baddest. Oh, and did I mention it's raining? Take the time to swing on a lamppost, too.
Last Stand - Geronimo could have used this as a ritornelle, a refrain to his final cry of freedom. The wind blows, the trumpet cleaves to his spirit and raises it to higher and higher levels of vanquishment. He is indomitable. He is stoic in his knowledge of justice and consequences. He is taking his last stand. Los Fantasticos whistle Geronimo to his fate with the wind, the guitars and the trumpet holding the pace. Last Stand is an incredible track.
The Wedge - Los Fantasticos created a tribute to Dick Dale's classic, tossed in the most incredible drums, trumpets and guitars and made it rock out ... um ... like the rocks that make The Wedge at Balboa Peninsula so freaking surfpendous. It's dangerous, baby. Very dangerous. Approach with caution, the shore break will getcha. The Wedge summons the kind of surf trip you can't talk your buds into doing with you. Nope. You go it alone because no one ... NO ONE! ... is as crazy as you are!
Solitario - Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Los Fantasticos have astounded me. It's more serene, more mystical, more - more everything than I could ever have asked for from a song. Solitario dawns with a lone trumpet, the sun rising on languid chords. At the apex, guitars breathe with the fiery radiance of a love song. From the seraphic and beguiling opening to the dreamy trumpet leading a sonorous guitar at the end, Solitario is the pinnacle of perfection. Te amo.
Okay, I may have to backtrack just long enough to say that, indeedy, "anticipation is taking me away" at the thought of another Los Fantasticos CD. Are you working on a new one? Are you ever going to come to the US so we can catch your live performances? How about Brazil? Will you meet me in Brazil? I adore you, you know.
Emma Jade Gunn - surfrockmusic.com
Los Fantasticos, Brighton’s finest, have a very individual style, with their twin lead line-up featuring rich twang from Tim Self and the surf reverb of Django Deadman. Combined with a good use of dynamics in their arrangements, which feature bassist Paul Lawrence and drummer Abe Mohsin, it is both the blend and contrast of these guitar sounds that sets them apart.
On this new album Mephistopeheles provides a menacing double-picked reverb surf intro to the lightly fuzzed sustain of the majestic Iron Horses and the surfy moodster First Tango in Paris. Over a tumbling tom-tom beat the bouncy Meanwhile Back In The Jungle maintains the variety, as does the fuzzy grind of La Corida De La Coruña and then Kind Hearts And Castanets with its scat playing over a jerky beat. The ironically titled A Hard Day For The Magnificent 7 is a sleepy siesta scene-setter for acoustic guitars and, after the meandering More Than Meets The Eye, Parc De La Villette is a beautifully descriptive surfer with a deft bounce to it that builds to a crescendo midway before easing down again.
The Devil Went Down To George Street rings the changes again with its sleazy grind, and a muted mariachi trumpet leads the mournful spag-west theme Last Stand into its stirring guitar solo and desolate fade. Trumpet features again as support on the one cover, a fine version of Dick Dale’s mighty The Wedge, and it also introduces the finale Solitario – a doleful exit to this emotionally-charged fourth album from Los Fantasticos.
Alan Taylor - Pipeline Instrumental Review
Brighton’s best gunslingers are back! Los Fantasticos’ new album was launched at The Prince Albert in Brighton on September 22nd (no doubt to celebrate my birthday the day before!) and it’s more of that professionally executed guitar instrumental, touching on surf, but more of that dark, brooding spaghetti western music we like so much. Great songs (only one cover – a strong DD “The Wedge”) riddled with atmosphere of the old west, with touched of The Ventures and Davie Allen to boot. Despite that dark, brooding comment, it is still largely uptempo and thoroughly likeable. Bet these guys rock when playing live – those of you who took in the launch, let us know. Great musicianship and an honest, crafted production. ****
Davy Peckett - "New" Gandy Dancer
Brighton, England's instro kings are back with their forth roundup of mutilated reverb contortions, and quite possibly their finest release to date. The thing I like about these guys is they aren't afraid to stretch their creative boundaries. Earlier this year they were a part of the exceptional Il Triello three way spaghetti western split compilation. Well those three songs appear here as well with new versions.
Mephistopheles: With a bouncing rhythm lead- in, the action quickly takes a devilish turn and reverb starts to furiously blur along with trumpet bursts and frazzles. Way too short and quick.
Iron Horses: A multitude of varied guitar tones and playing techniques give this a unique flare. Galloping drums and quivering bass line keep things together yet there is uncertainty in the air. Dark and rusty!
First Tango In Paris: This certainly has a passionate component to it, but nothing all soft and mushy. The two guitar players Django and Self really arrange a beautiful and sophisticated intertwining of their six string instruments .A ukulele even makes a interesting appearance here.
Meanwhile Back In The Jungle: As if the title doesn't already give away a tribal vibe the various wild animal noises that open this track will. The jungle beat sets the pace and the surf guitars floods in like a playful tidal wave. Very adventurous and danceable.
La Corida de la Coruna: Possibly my favorite track here. It may be ultra cool fuzz drag in the beginning of this song that sets a brilliant tone for the rest of the band to play off of for its duration. Davie Allan probably wouldn't include such a thick European/Spanish rhythm, but this would make him blush with envy.
Kind Hearts And Castanets: Yes folks the title says Castanets these percussive instruments are primarily used in the Spanish culture. Basically hand held instruments giving off a strong clicking or rattling sound. They make a brief appearance here. Actually I was expecting a full on clickity-clack breakdown mid-song instead a unique wah wah guitar break along with a even more scarce use of the Castanets. The overall song is oozing with zesty charm and flaring percussive drive. Maybe during a live setting the band will really give this a Castanet shake up.
A Hard Day For The Magnificent 7: The acoustic guitars, the drums and cymbal taps almost unify in this promisingly hopeful number. Time to rest cowboy!
More Than Meets The Eye: Not really my cup of tea as it takes on too much of a happy vibe. Not terrible, but it just seems to be filler.
Parc de la Villette: Named after the astonishing park in Paris, this track takes on mystery and wonderment at the same time. The lurking drums ,smooth bass, and vibrato guitar gently and feverishly swoons over this like beautiful art.
The Devil Went Down To George Street: Probably the bluesiest track on the album. Slow and methodical yet with a Duane Eddy thunderous kick. A coaxing organ and cold rain wash away the evidence of the crime.
Last Stand: Blowing winds, outlaying horns and creeping slow western surf guitar make for a deathly vibe, but the punch of the strong arm drums give this one merit and grit. Another cool feature with this track is the eerie lonesome whistle synonymous with the spaghetti western genre.
The Wedge: The band decide to really slow down the intro to this Dick Dale classic, but other than that once the song gets going it's pretty stays true to the original except for it's nowhere near as brutal sounding as Dick pulls it off.
Solitario: Like a long lonesome ride in the dry desert sun, the double picking reverb squall, the less than triumphant trumpet, and down trodden drum pace makes for a sombre piece of music but those are the breaks for this lonesome cowboy. Beautifully arranged and certainly deserves the claim of masterpiece.
Los Fantasticos never ceases to impress and amaze me.
Brandonio Grainger - Rock Is Dead RIP
When I hear the term 'Spaghetti Western', the first thing that comes to mind is a trail-hardened drifter crossing the Badlands on a paint horse. He's wearing a low-crown, flat-brim hat, a black duster and a pearl handled Colt .45 strapped low on his hip. His chaps and boots are covered with trail dust. Strapped to his boots are spurs, with rowels the size of $20 gold pieces.
The man is tall and lean. Too many years of sun, wind and saddle have turned his hands and face into leather. He's a loner who prefers the solitude of a desert trail to the din of city life. He exudes a quiet confidence, born out of skill with his fists and his gun. As long as there's a next horizon, he'll keep drifting.
I'm passionate about Spaghetti Western music. I've been that way ever since my introduction to the music of Ennio Morricone and Dominic Frontiere. Spaghetti Western music has to stir my imagination. If it doesn't, I'd just as soon not listen to it. So, it was with some trepidation that I popped Three Western Tales into my CD player – and there it stayed, repeatedly. Three Western Tales not only stirred my imagination, it stirred my soul. It's Spaghetti Western through and through – exceptional Spaghetti Western by three standout bands.
il Triello (the trio) are:
The Man From RavCon
Three Western Tales is an enthralling Spaghetti Western compilation. It is presented in three acts. Each act features one of the bands performing three songs. A short, gripping introduction precedes each act.
"I never seen nor heard so many bastards in all my life."
Act 1: The Man From RavCon
Echo Canyon - Solitude, Echo Canyon bespeaks solitude. There are no settlements or human beings for many miles. Echo Canyon is a loner's sanctuary, a place where a man can be at peace. This is a hauntingly lonely track, with a guitar that sounds as lonely as the desolate canyon. The trumpet emphasizes the depth of isolation.
I Live, You Die - The rhythm guitar makes me envision a gunslinger astride his horse, galloping across the desert. He's hell-bent for flesh. Someone has crossed him and someone will pay. Outstanding orchestration and vocal harmonies add to the Spaghetti Western feeling. The oboe and baritone guitar take I Live, You Die to the next level.
Almeria - A very pretty and captivating track, Almeria delivers that familiar feeling of desolation and aloneness that are prevalent in Spaghetti Western films. Beautifully played and orchestrated, Almeria captures the total essence of the genre.
"...Ya know, for days I almost broke my head trying to figure out how we could get ahold of that silver. And now it's dropped right into our laps, ready to move... Friends, the promised land is here!"
Act 2: The Nematoads
Deadwood Revisited - An action-packed track, the numerous time and lead instrument changes makes Deadwood Revisited a story within itself. The guitar and trumpet play very well off of each other. The chord progression in the chorus adds additional drama to the song. The Nematoads tell a great tale with Deadwood Revisited.
La Senora del Muerte - A dramatic opening is evidence of things to come. "The Lady of Death" knows someone will die today. The excellent orchestration and liberal use of the trumpet gives intense solemnity to La Senora del Muerte.
The Battle of Gonzales - The trumpet signifies the cavalry is here. Everything is calm, like the lull before a storm. With some dramatic guitar and cymbal play, the intensity builds to a crescendo. It's every man for himself as the battle rages. The Battle of Gonzales is filled with action and drama. The Nematoads deliver The Battle of Gonzales with passion. Everyone is at the top of their game, including a surprise guest – a rattlesnake.
"Who the hell do you think you are? You act like y'all got hit in the head with a horse."
Act 3: Los Fantasticos
Iron Horses - This is a terrific track, with waves of tremolo accentuated by a perfectly distorted guitar. The final verse is a wonderful treat, featuring exquisite double picking and excellent drumming.
A Hard Day for the Magnificent 7 - A very pretty and peaceful track, A Hard Day for the Magnificent 7 is the kind of song you would want to hear as you relax in a cantina and rest up from a hard day's ride. The guitar sounds very much like the bells in a mission tower. For that matter, I'm not sure it isn't the bells in a mission tower.
Last Stand - Opens with a strong guitar riff that provides a powerful rhythmic background for the excellent trumpet lead. Last Stand has a brave, majestic nuance to it. I can't help but think of Comanche, the brave horse, when I listen to this song. The whistling at the end of Last Stand is exceptionally beautiful.
If you're into Ennio Morricone and Dominic Frontiere, you will thoroughly enjoy Three Western Tales. il Triello have done an outstanding job with their performances, compositions and arrangements of the music. I highly recommend Three Western Tales to everyone, especially lovers of Spaghetti Western music.
Stephen L. Robbins - surfrockmusic.com
Il Triello is a wonderful nod to the spaghetti westerns of Ennio Morricone. It's not covers, but it is much like a tribute to his genius. Three artists contribute three tracks each. Simply excellent!
Iron Horses ****
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)
Throbbing tremolo and cowboys rhythms create images of haunted cactus rides. Some very cool drum work, as well as several guitar styles and sounds blend for an engaging and invigorating ride. Really cool string swipes add rock torture to the mix.
A Hard Day For The Magnificent 7 ****
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)
Sad and proud, "A Hard Day For The Magnificent 7" flows easily across a scene of victory at a high price. Splendid guitar and bass work, and very well thought out drums. Superb!
Last Stand ****
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)
Surf guitar and distant Mexican horns create an interesting funeral-like scene, and once the military drums and long bass notes come in, "Last Stand" takes on even more drama. This is a very effective track!
Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
Last, but by no means least, come the great Los Fantasticos with their twin guitar punch and fine arrangements. Iron Horses is a searing, soaring piece with some very tasty playing. A Hard Day For The Magnificent 7 is a lazy drifter’s theme, while Last Stand provides a hauntingly moody finale.
Alan Taylor - Pipeline
Into The Infinity Tunnel With Los Fantasticos
I guess it helps that half of this material is familiar through their live performances, including their excellent set at Pipeline 2008, so perhaps it's no surprise to find that Los Fantasticos' third album is their most accessible yet.
Over shimmering chords, Tim Self's trumpet provides a low-down and dirty B-movie intro before The Devil's Interval builds up to its fast flying guitar theme where Tim's guitar is underpinned by strident electric chords from Django Deadman. The combination of the two guitarists' different styles and sounds is a distinctive feature of the band, allied to their arranging skills and grasp of dynamics it gives them a unique appeal and tracks such as San Telmo and Johnny Got Murdered simply ooze atmosphere.
William Tell is a well worn theme but Los Fantasticos rock it up to great effect. this is the best guitar version I've heard, a fine arrangement that says it all in just 2min 20secs - great stuff. And Night Of The Vampire... has anyone dared record it since The Moontrekkers laid down their Joe Meek classic? Again owing much to the band's arrangement, this is a highlight of Los F's gigs and the two guitar assault of Tim and Django is just the infusion required to bring new life to such a challenging and idiosyncratic original. It's another major success that has me wondering what heights they might achieve on an album with a higher percentage of covers.
Paul Lawrence's bouncy, forceful bass work is a feature on established stage favourite Papa Surf, as is Abe Mohsin's powerful drumming, and this is the closest that the adventurous Los Fantasticos come to playing trad surf. Fans will also be familiar with the hard driving Spied and the mighty and fabulously exotic Benghazi Rumble which caps this excellent album's magnificent closing sequence of three tracks.
Alan Taylor - Pipeline
***** Wow! Into The Infinity Tunnel With Los Fantasticos is amazing! Incredibly strong arranging and playing, and plenty of original ideas to sink your teeth into.
Picks: The Devil's Interval, Papa Surf, William Tell, Johnny Got Married, Kommissar Of The Surf Guitar, San Telmo, Spied, Redneck,Segovia Says, Feds Under The Bed, Johnny Got Murdered, Night Of The Vampire, Benghazi Rumble
Track by Track Review
The Devil's Interval
A saucy swank horn, dramatic slow tom toms, and shimmering tremolo guitar ooze a sultry slew of randy sound. It gradually speeds up about half way in to a frenzied and highly infectious pace. Totally great guitar chops and reverb with an infectious rhythm guitar.
Papa Surf ***
"Papa Surf" has a bit of a pop melody line, a "Wipe Out" break, and several very cool changes. The chop chords are very nice.
William Tell ****
Rossini's "William Tell Overture" is all decked out in reverb and a delightful rhythm guitar. Great tom tom action and very smooth bass complete this fine track. This is a hard piece to make into a serious surf instro, but Los Fantasticos have certainly done so.
Johnny Got Married ****
Slow dribbled double picked guitar foretells of moody happenings, but once the track opens into full swing, its slow, sort of Klezmer-ish beat and structure give it a romantic charm. Spunk comes on as it speeds up, and the lead turns to double picking. Very nice!
Kommissar Of The Surf Guitar ****
The melody is Russian influenced and the pace is lumbering, with angry chords and a splashy lead. Long dribbling glissandos down and up the neck add sparkle to this dramatic track.
San Telmo ****
Easy surf guitar plays a very cool pattern as the lead delivers a slightly sad melody with a bit of a Mediterranean sound. "San Telmo" sneaks up on you, eventually satisfying fully. This is very dramatic.
Reverbed chop chords and a spy melody riff create a hybrid sound that's actually quite original. The melody line is pretty, and the drums and bass really support it all well. The break is shimmering with tremolo and delicate charm. "Spied" is destined for a spy flick.
Cowboy surf beat with a big grin and a delicate melody. "Redneck" is very appealing and fun. The melody is more sophisticated than the title implies, and the muted lines are really cool as they prance above tom toms.
Segovia Says *****
Great drums and bass launch this heavy thunder surf thrasher. "Segovia Says" is cool and warm, and those tribal drums really make it work. I found myself humming along.
Feds Under The Bed ****
"Feds Under The Bed" is more a riff rocker than others here at first, but it soon displays a tasteful melody line and quirky stop-start phrasing. I was a bit ho-hum about this at first, but it very quickly captured my attention.
Johnny Got Murdered *****
Sad tremolo and low soft tone are haunting as "Johnny Got Murdered" opens. The gentle tom toms and round bass add mood, and the long delicate sustain is an interesting touch. While this is soft and easy, it really demand attention.
Night Of The Vampire ****
Travelling along at mid tempo with tremolo and a bit of fuzz, "Night Of The Vampire" is kinda goofy, but in a goof way. Like a delicate Munsters theme, it requires grins, but it's also very sustainable on its own.
Benghazi Rumble *****
Angular and mysterious, "Benghazi Rumble" has the complexity and drama of The Insect Surfers, and giant, dissonant tone to deliver the danger. Verging on psychedelic, this is a monster track. Wah wah, great drums, serious arranging, and a sweeping visual sound.
Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
Brighton's high twanging surf band we've met before, and here's their third album of all originals plus their arrangements of "William Tell" and "Night Of The Vampire". "Papa Surf" is a vibrant ssplash of surf with snippets of "Wipe Out" and "Twisted" for good luck while the opener "Devil's Interval" starts off as an atmospheric "Harlem Nocturne" type chiller before reving up into a full blown 12 bar rocker. Lots of dark, moody chording and almost impossible to imagine they are from the UK. Serious evidence of lots of hard rehearsing to get things right. Strong authoritative and authentic surf guitar set. ****
Davy Peckett - "New" Gandy Dancer
Pipeline Convention 2008
Can I better AI's introduction from the Pipeline 2008 programme probably not, so I reproduce it here! "You won't want to miss the unique and exciting sounds of Brighton's finest: LOS FANTASTICOS. They rose out of the ashes of the late. great, but sadly short lived Deadman's Curve with Django Deadman at the helm. He fronts the band together with Tim Self and you'll have to travel it long way to find two such tasteful and melodic lead guitarists in the same band. The way they use great sounds and dynamics onstage is sheer joy, savour their set and then seek out their two albums Los Fantasticos and Return Of The Leopard Man."
With Paul Lawrence on bass and Abe Mohsin on drums, both a vital part of the group's unique arrangements, their set comprised a great mix of original compositions and cover versions. Papa Surf is simply all out axe assault. Sheer manic energy with thrashing rhythm, pounding drums and an extremely fluid bass guitar. Return Of The Leopard Man more of the same. Savage protopunk surf thrash. Reminiscent of Sir Bald Diddley & The Wigouts at their wildest when they had the brilliant Gerbs on bass.
The third track was an equally torrid original again with fantastic bass and drums underpinning the whole track allowing the two guitarists to wildly solo at will, interchanging lead and rhythm with sonorous slashing and splashing chords.Moroccan Roll great title. Great track. Great playing. Just like a crazed variation of Misirlou. Sort of "Souk Rock" meets Euro Surf with very tight ensemble playing. Johnny Got Made - another similar high octane number with scything heavily reverbed chords pitted against dazzling single note picking from the man with the purple guitar. In places it slowed briefly, morphing into a kind of Latino feel with the bass aping a sort of Hernando's Hideaway feel. Sleepwalk took no prisoners and was a very different interpretation, very powerful with overdriven and distorted sounds a totally committed performance which the group clearly believed in.
Tilting At Windmills featured Mariachi trumpet in the mix. A lengthy opening and a rumbling, meandering track building to a massive climax with huge chords, tons of reverb and massive sustain. The group also put their own interpretation/variations on the classic Night Of The Vampire. Such a great track can work really well played fairly straight with extra power etc. I just thought that the group took one too many liberties with this one. A Short Song About Killing featured a quasi Celtic sounding melody pitted against a backdrop of giant chords drenched in reverb and dripping with echo. The whole theme was played through four times, twice slowly and twice quickly. William Tell (Overture) meets heavy surf. Just brilliant. Simply brilliant. Enormous power. Spied was like a melange of all that preceded it wild thrashing in Echo Canyon! Phew! These guys just didn't ease up.
Benghazi Rumble was another ominously powerful track with lashings of powerful guitar in the manner of Dick Dale. It reminded me of Tribal Thunder need I say more? Paint it Black simply awesome as a powerhouse instrumental by Los Fantasticos. At one point the bassist took over lead chores (on bass). Outstanding culminating in a massive thrash fest at the finale. Sergio another fine original. Taking no prisoners, the band have come up with a track a little like Spaghetti Western Themes meet Heavy Surf.
These guys were too wild for some aficionados, but that's the great thing about Pipeline most definitely something for everyone and surf fans will have loved Los Fantasticos.
****Los Fantasticos play music that's not for the trad purist, but it has a real surf foundation in its guitar tone and dribbling glissandos. Think about what GT Stringer did with the merger of surf and jazz. This isn't like that except in the combination of elements. Where GTS played with sax and psych, Los Fantasticos use surf to interpret jazz ideas and sophistication, but never leave the rock'n'roll foundation of surf too far behind. There's lots here for the open minded.
Picks: The Associate, Moroccan Roll, Johnny Got Made, Bringing Georgia To Mind, El Pichon, Maracana, A Short Song About Killing, Contessa Del Fuego, Tilting At Windmills, The Whites Of Their Eyes, The Smell Of Neoprene In The Morning, Paint It Black
The Associate ***
Busy drums and shiny surf tone develop a very non-surf structure with glissandos and moody bass. It's interesting how surfable the song is, given that's it's entirely outside the norm. Engaging.
Moroccan Roll *****
Reverbed chop chords and a mysterious desert air held together by flowing glissandos and a nifty melody. There's a lot here - changes - tone - imagery - and adventurous ideas. "Moroccan Roll" is a splendid track that's daring and aquatic.
Johnny Got Made ***
With a Zappa-esq intro and mathematical melody line, this track's precision and circular riffology give it a friendly feeling when coupled with the reverb. Quite cool!
Bringing Georgia To Mind ****
Great drums open and carry "Bringing Georgia To Mind" throughout its tenure, while a moody melody portrays a gloomy day on the beak. This fine track is a splendid example of just how surf a very adventurous idea can be. Great reverb tone and gray-green walls combine for a stormy and risky ride.
El Pichon ***
The slow picturesque flow of "El Pichon" has a softly sunset feeling. The fretless bass gives this a sophisticated edge, while the reverb and lush chords portray a traditional palm lined shore image. Very nice.
Superb drums and lovely guitar lines seem to bring moody jazz to the brine. It's a bit angular and mathematical, yet it flows with a lovely image and liquid reverb sound. Very cool!
A Short Song About Killing ****
A country beat runs beneath a slightly sad melody in a structure that reminds me of Monster Pete and the Chiefs. On the dark side, or perhaps just shy of optimistic, "A Short Song About Killing" sounds nothing like the title might suggest, and it grows on you.
Contessa Del Fuego ****
"Contessa Del Fuego" moves slowly across your senses in an effortless blend of gentility and after dark invisibility. gentle and pretty, and quite sensual, like a wisp of a flowing gown just above the perception threshold. As the fuzz comes forth, the danger becomes clear, but for most of the song, it's not more than a suspicion. Very well done.
Tilting At Windmills *****
Soft and lightly flowing, the two guitars play gently off one another in the intro, but as the tribal drums come on with great emotional drama, the melody morphs into a tidal swell of raw feeling. "Tilting At Windmills" really connects if you let it, like one of those edge of tears scenes in a film. Very visual and human.
The Whites Of Their Eyes ****
Large and edgy, with a heavier sound than most here, "The Whites Of Their Eyes" is a fastish number with a sense of forward motion and rising drama. Quite nice.
The Smell Of Neoprene In The Morning *****
In a play on Apocalypse Now in name only, this song sports gentle drama and imagery. The drums are very good, and the melody and rhythm very expressive, delivering a gradually soaring and sailing swell of emotion, amped by the bass. The borrowed lick from "Eight Miles High" is a stroke of genius. The fuzz section is quite powerful. The interplay between the guitars is superb.
Paint It Black *****
Los Fantasticos do quite a sophisticated surf arrangement with this song. It's attractive, powerful, and engaging. Plenty of changes throughout, from surf to fuzz to wah-wah. Wonderful! It's really quite something to realize how many surfbands have done versions of Mick Jagger and Keith Richard's "Paint It Black." It was from an era when rock'n'roll songs had melody, and that didn't take away from their stark edge and emotion.
Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
Brighton's guitar four-piece return for their second album after Return Of The Leopard Man. It is characterised by some great guitar sounds and the tight, snappy playing we have come to expect. This is exemplified on Moroccan Roll and Johnny Got Made, with Abe Mohsin's sharp snare shots and Paul Lawrence's cascading bass runs providing the setting for guitarists Tim Self and Django Deadman whose choppy, echoed rhythm chords underpin crisp clear lead work on decent melodies. Bringing Georgia To Mind is a more expansive, flowing ballad and El Pichon a slower, quieter theme. In fact the only track I can't handle is The Associate which I found far too edgy for an opener - skip it!
Tim's Mariachi trumpet sets the scene for the tastily exotic Maracana and the multi-paced A Short Song About Killing is pure spaghetti western. Contessa Del Fuego and Tilting At Windmills are full of sad, post-kill reflection while The Whites Of Their Eyes is a lively, edgy piece. Neoprene opens out with references to such spaced-out influences as The Byrds' Eight Miles High. It's the perfect introduction to the group's fine arrangement of The Stones' Paint It Black which climaxes this excellent set.
Alan Taylor - Pipeline
Their first album was a cracker and this set moves on in both the band's writing and their musical structure. Not as melodic as past material but more a clever adaptation of twangy 60's guitar to today's complex songwriting. Smart stuff here without drifting away from the guitars and drums basis - except for the addition of a trumpet on "Tilting At Windmills." There's a dramatic nature to much of the album try "EL Pichon" for example or the almost medieval, Wishbone Ash culture of "Short Song About Killing." Not an album you'd pick up on during the first playing, but it enriches with repeat listenings. Excellent musicianship from guitars, bass and drums all through. ***
Davy Peckett - "New" Gandy Dancer
Cesare Gorgeous Presents... Return of the Leopard Man
****This is a very sophisticated and lovely disc, with exceptional writing and well thought out arranging. I'm impressed!
"Tierce de Picardi" ***
Rich guitar and sad trumpet launch this dramatic piece of music. Once into the song, two guitars play around each other, rhythm playing a "Brand New Cadillac" riff while lead plays an original melody. Solid and on the dark side.
"(Theme From) Return Of The Leopard Man" *****
Groovy muted guitar and twangy whammy chords, liquid reverb and a tweaky surfin' spy sound colorfully create intriguing interplay. Soft and yet twangin' tuff. Very cool!
"All Along The Promenade" ****
"All Along The Promenade" is a strolling kind of song with a tone and and friendly guitar lines. Heavy at times, fluid at others, it holds your attention and is very nicely arranged.
"Sleep Walk" ****
Santo and Johnny's ever slithery "Sleep Walk" is done in a simple easy surf style that's very complimentary to it. Simply lovely!
"Town With No Name" *****
"Town With No Name" is soft and moody to the max, like a gentle Gabor Szabo or perhaps Harvey Mandel ballad. This very slow and sensual piece lulls you into a relaxed state, whether you want to go there or not. Beautiful! That's part one. Part two speeds up with a cowboy beat that's just too cool! A great track!
"Liz's Dream House" ****
Pomp and keys and big drums and jazzy bass, then a soft and lush piece with a sinewy bass line that seems to hold it together. As it grows to be heavier, it leaves tranquility behind in favor of drama. This is serious music, or maybe perfect soundtrack material.
"Crazy Lady / High Velocity" *****
"Crazy Lady / High Velocity" is a pure joy, with splashy surf guitars and a warm Austin style melody. Edgy, powerful, and very attractive.
"Man Turns Animal" ****
Surf and rock and progressive and classical seem intertwined as "Man Turns Animal" unfolds. It grows on you as time passes. It's sort of mathematical, yet quite fluid.
"Olympic White" *****
Ultra low lead guitar, a cowboy beat, and a sinewy sound that's very inviting. "Olympic White" is a superb piece of music that's engaging and very pleasurable. Imagine Jet Harris surfing to Guam.
"Sofia" is a slow and pretty song with a tasteful melody line and sad imagery. A lovely creation in tux.
Tremolo shimmer and long chords bring on a very pretty sequence of notes before becoming a wonderful surf instro with real charm. gentle and dramatic, and very fluid!
"El Mar del Amor" *****
"El Mar del Amor" is a jazzy surf stroll down a foggy beach in search of a love lost. Like some of the better seventies prog, it moves through its paces with art and sophistication. The long leaning bass note at the end is really neat. Excellent!
Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
Brighton's always been a good town for surf music recordings and here's a new band with echoes of Dead Man's Curve and they produce an excellent sound on their debut album of highly polished and exciting originals. The only cover is a superb, non-derivative version of Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk". Title track is a real thriller and "Olympic White" with it's switch from Bob Bogle sounding lead to Jet Harris's thunder bass is another crackerjack. "All Along The Promenade" is pure Davie Allan. The originals are crafted very well and not just yer average 12 bar fillers - the boys have worked hard. There's a chunk of Morricone in here somewhere on a production which is exhilarating. This is one of the best debut albums we've heard in like, forever. ****
Davy Peckett - "New" Gandy Dancer
It was a sad day when Dead Man's Curve went their separate ways, but Jon Deadman is now one of two guitarists leading Los Fantasticos - the finest instrumental act in Brighton according to their manager. I can certainly vouch for their full-value live performances and one highlight, a superb version of Sleepwalk, is a feature here on their debut CD. In addition to guitar Tim Self adds lap steel as well as occasional trumpet so, with a predominantly original set, the band do offer something a little out of the ordinary.
Tim's mariachi trumpet heralds the opener which then launches into a Brand New Cadillac riff and some rock & roll soloing. Olympic White is a twangin' jog along western theme, Crazy Lady is a good number with a catchy hook and the atmospheric standout piece Sergio builds up the tension beautifully. But most of the tracks are about setting and mood than delivering a stunning melody. The title track features reverb chords and All Along The Promenade sports a fuzz lead - the variety of guitar sounds allied to the band's all round attack is a delight to hear and promises well for the future.
Alan Taylor - Pipeline
The Mexican Whistler
****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.
Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
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