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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Spinning Spin the Bottle

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Frankie and the Pool Boys hardly needs any introduction. Nine out of ten hermits living in caves for the last 20 years still have heard Ewa, On The Beach, and more. I can sing the praises of F & the PBs to the high heavens, but I will say merely that they are about as solid as any Surf band currently producing music.

So, how is Spin the Bottle? If I were to reduce my description of this album to one word, it would be "range". Actor George C. Scott had range, he could play serious roles about men whom were facing the most serious of situations, yet he was a comic genius in Dr. Strangelove, which is saying quite a lot considering that we was playing opposite Peter Sellers.

Frankie and the Boys demonstrate the same degree of range and this album is no exception. Most of the music is upbeat, but even among the up-tempo tunes there is a wide range of mood.

  • Seafoam Angels starts out energetically but never goes over the top. It manages to have a mellow side without ever losing its excitement or driving beat.

  • Poser is a true rocker with an energy that reminds me of the early years of the British Invasion. The combo organ is used to especially great effect in this tune.

  • Smoke Jumper is hard to describe. There is a bit of everything in this tune. The verse seems to ascend while the chorus uses a descending harmony. The drama of a true Smoke Jumper is intrinsic to the song.

  • Spin the Bottle is a playful tune with great interplay between the combo organ and the guitars. The backbeat is insistent but there's a whimsy which keeps the song from taking itself too seriously. A well named tune if I've ever heard one. Lots of classic rock n' roll guitar in this one.

  • El Valenciano gets down to business right out of the gate and the energy level it bolstered by an incredibly fast and precise right hand technique. An incredibly powerful song with some interesting breaks to keep the tension levels humane.

  • Magic River seems to be carried by the organ and beautifully supported with very energetic guitar work.

  • The Wet Season sounds almost like a TV show theme from the seventies, as written by the likes of Mike Post. There's plenty of Surf sound in the mix, but the presence of wah-wah and the use of power-chords reminds me of the '70s in all of its polyester glory. (I mean that in a good way, I liked the seventies.)

  • Summer Cold is the slow, serious tune of the album and fits its name quite well. Whether the title is referring to meteorological or epidemiological phenomena, I'm not certain, but it fits either quite well. Mentally, I have the impression of an unseasonably cold and cloudy day at the beach.

  • Fast Loud Hard is all of what you'd expect from the title, but never harsh. The Surf pedigree comes through loud and clear, or perhaps more accurately, loud and distorted in a manner that reminds me of the late sixties, but not distorted to the point of losing definition entirely.

  • Hang 'Em High has a deep, brooding quality to it. The organ takes the lead in delivering the melody and the guitars lend just the right sort of support. While the organ is used liberally throughout the album, IMO this tune is where it really shines. There is a refrain where the guitars come to the forefront followed by a guitar solo that rounds out the piece.

  • Tan Line Fever has a classic First Wave quality to it with plenty of drip and palm muting. The song is the essence of 1962 in a bottle, plus some groovy organ sounds that drag it into the mid sixties every so often.

  • Kill Devil Club sounds raucous and unrestrained. It just sounds like rock n' roll guitar fun with nothing to interrupt the joy of just rocking out. It sounds like it was fun to play, and I bet it was.

  • Prayer Wheel has a quality which combines Surf sensibilities with a feeling which would have played well in '70s Rock, with all of its self-reflection.

  • San Quixote is classic Surf, but a Balkan sensibility seems to come through in spots which is a refreshing alternative to non-stop harmonic minors. (I'm going to have to experiment with Hungarian Minor scales.)

  • Raise Hell is anything but a hell-raiser of a song, but it is one hell of a song, with both harmonic and emotional depth. Some cool bells too.

  • Pool Boy Stomp is a freewheeling rocker with a great groove and lots of classic Surf era techniques. It is a fitting cap to a great overall effort.

The arrangements are mature and competently performed. Nowhere are there rough edges or places where the musicians sound as if they a flying by the seat of their pants. Likewise, the production values are excellent and one is never overwhelmed with effects or post-prod' tinkering. The music sounds neither overly raw or over-produced. It's easy to imagine any of this material being performed live and holding up well against the recording.

There is a strong presence of the combo organ throughout and it really adds to the sound. All of the instruments seem to achieve a great balance without any apparent effort. I would imagine that to be a testament to the arranging, but it also speaks very well of all the artists on this record.

The first Frankie and the Pool Boys album set a very high standard and anything else released by this band will have to bear up to the obvious comparisons which will be made. Spin the Bottle is a very worthy effort which will not suffer by following in the footsteps of earlier recordings by this band. Highly recommended.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

Wow, thanks for the song by song review!!! It's good to know that people are listening closely! I have a lot of respect for fans of surf music, so we pour everything we have (heart, soul, money) into our releases. Enjoy!

INSTAGRAM
Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
DJ Frankie Pool Boy on North Sea Surf Radio
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar

Last edited: May 08, 2018 19:38:26

PolloGuitar wrote:

Wow, thanks for the song by song review!!! It's good to know that people are listening closely! I have a lot of respect for fans of surf music, so we pour everything we have (heart, should, money) into our releases. Enjoy!

It comes through in your music. I’ve been listening to and playing Surf since the sixties and know what I like. This particular album has the feel that I like, and a slightly more modern feel, but never to the point of betraying the original concept of Surf music.

IMHO, it captures the essence of Surf music without sounding like just another rehashing of that same old ideas. The overall sound is good too, not overboard on the ‘verb, which is a trap some of the newer bands fall into. The inherent variety of the album works well too; everything fits, but it isn’t all the same. Congrats on a very worthy addition to the Frankie and the Pool Boys catalog. When’s the next one coming out? Smile

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

synchro wrote:

This particular album has the feel that I like, and a slightly more modern feel, but never to the point of betraying the original concept of Surf music.
IMHO, it captures the essence of Surf music without sounding like just another rehashing of that same old ideas. The overall sound is good too, not overboard on the ‘verb, which is a trap some of the newer bands fall into. The inherent variety of the album works well too; everything fits, but it isn’t all the same.

God, that's DEAD ON, as far as I'm concerned! That's exactly how I feel, too! Well said, Synchro!

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

IvanP wrote:

synchro wrote:

This particular album has the feel that I like, and a slightly more modern feel, but never to the point of betraying the original concept of Surf music.
IMHO, it captures the essence of Surf music without sounding like just another rehashing of that same old ideas. The overall sound is good too, not overboard on the ‘verb, which is a trap some of the newer bands fall into. The inherent variety of the album works well too; everything fits, but it isn’t all the same.

God, that's DEAD ON, as far as I'm concerned! That's exactly how I feel, too! Well said, Synchro!

Thanks Ivan. I just wrote down my first impression as I reviewed each track, one at a time and expanded on that. There is some very cool music being produced these days.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

Last edited: May 09, 2018 22:35:12

Great album ! My favorite is The Wet season, it's really unique with its crazy tropical 70's feel (hard to describe :lol:) ! Love Tan Line Fever, El Valenciano, Magic River, and Prayer wheel too (but all are good really). Thanks for the liner note pdf you included, it's really cool to see the guitar tabs and the stories behind the songs !

Yannick

Lead Guitar in Blackball Bandits : https://blackballbandits.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/thecholla

Read ElMonstroPorFavor's review at Storm Surge of Reverb

INSTAGRAM
Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
DJ Frankie Pool Boy on North Sea Surf Radio
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar

Order "Spin the Bottle" from:
Double Crown Records
BandCamp
CDBaby
iTunes
Amazon

INSTAGRAM
Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
DJ Frankie Pool Boy on North Sea Surf Radio
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar

Thanks for listening!
We shot a video for "The Wet season", it'll premier in a couple days.

The_Cholla wrote:

Great album ! My favorite is The Wet season, it's really unique with its crazy tropical 70's feel (hard to describe :lol:) ! Love Tan Line Fever, El Valenciano, Magic River, and Prayer Wheel too (but all are good really). Thanks for the liner note pdf you included, it's really cool to see the guitar tabs and the stories behind the songs !

INSTAGRAM
Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
DJ Frankie Pool Boy on North Sea Surf Radio
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar

Would just like to echo the thoughts and comments that have already been very well stated about the new release by Frankie and the Pool Boys, "Spin the Bottle". It's a fantastic recording that brings in a great amount of diversity and, of course, a level of coolness that can't be overstated. This is a recording that all surf and instro fans should have in their library.
It's just wonderful and quite amazing how these musicians have continued to grow and remain on the leading edge of this music genre over the years.

Insto_Maniac

Really enjoying this album, especially with the use of organ on the songs. Loads of difference from tune to tune.

And a big shout out for the vocal version of Summer Cold. Straight out of the Lee Hazelwood/Nancy Sinatra stable.

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