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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink The Secret Samurai - Gun Sho Gun

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I was looking forward to this a lot because I have visited the bands MySpace page and was impressed. They also have some video's on YouTube. I had a feeling I was not going to be disappointed. Now the review...

The first track they lured me into the bands music was "The Song Remains Insane." I was really blown away with the guitar work on this track. I think this song optimizes the Secret Samurai's sound and highlights Ryan's diversity as a guitar player. If I was going to use one song to promote the band I think I'd use this track.

"Titus" is probably my favorite track. I am not shy about my love for 1st wave surf and when I hear Titus all I can think of of 1st wave crashes with modern surf music resulting in a great sound. I see the Dale/ Messina influence here big time. It reminds me of the upbeat "Breeze and I" from Messina with its main riff. There are catchy Dale like guitar rakes ala "Let's Go Tripping" throughout that track giving the song a great fullness. At the same time, the song seems more sophisticated then those simple songs of the past that it relics.

Another track that is extremely note worthy is "Off the Richter" If their was every a Surf Monster Ballads CD, this would have to be on it. I have to say this song is completely bass and drum driven, yet the guitars do not disappoint.

"L'ultimo Basamento" has that Middle Eastern waltz feel, think Dick Dale's Surf Tango but more middle eastern and more interesting guitars. Maybe thats a crappy comparison. Embarassed Another great tune regardless.

The only things I was not thrilled about this album was its cover song. I am not a huge fan of Istanbul. But, since I have only heard covers of this song, its probably not fair for me to judge. I also think "Don't Fear the Reverb" has no business being the opening track for the album. It is the weakest song on the album. (Please don't take it personal, you guys are great people and great musicians) It is just too generic sounding to be the first thing people hear when there are a shipload of great songs to follow.

Don't miss out in this album, its a contender for sure. I am glad I bought it. I think Ryan said this was 10 years in the making? I hope we don't have to wait that long for another release...

Thanks, WaimeaBay! If you like "Off the Richter Act II", you may want to check out "Off the Richter" from Surf Report's final album, "Supersonic Salvation." It's the same arrangement with a few differences. Thanks again for the review and I'm actually very happy to hear negative criticisms because we experienced a time when everyone said "nice" things and it took some blunt honesty from some friends (like BTD) to get us out of our rut.

I'm glad you like the, don't worry about another CD soon, we already have one new original done.

who me? Paranoid

seriously though
the new stuff sounds so good to
how you sounded 2 years ago.

I didn't think about it,
But I should have asked you to bring some copies up yesterday.
oh well, I'll get it at the Purple Orchid show.



Thanks, WaimeaBay! If you like "Off the Richter Act II", you may want to check out "Off the Richter" from Surf Report's final album, "Supersonic Salvation." It's the same arrangement with a few differences.

Cool Steve. I will be sure to check that out. I did not realize it was a sequel... Your playing was excellent as well (I know Bass Players rarely get the credit they deserve in Surf Bands) Why did you guys not cover Latini'a for the CD? You play it really awesome live. Plus its not a straight rip-off of the original the way you guys do it, like so many covers of it have been.

who me? Paranoid

Well, you and others gave constructive criticism which was very helpful. Also, we did have cd's with us last night but we were only going to sell them by request only. We'll get you one in two weeks.

Waimea Bay, we didn't do Latin'a because Ru and I are pretty much tired of playing it Sleeping are probably some of our fans who hear it every show. Not that it's not a great song, we just thought it ran its course. I personally enjoy Istanbul but yeah, several people have expressed they don't like it so much. Oh well, can't please everyone.

Thanks for the kind words about bass players. Cool

Thanks for the review Dan. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time out to write it. As for Latin'ia, its a fantastic tune. We've been playing that one for many years, but I just didn't want to record it. No reason really other than its been recorded by so many fantastic bands in the past. I guess you can say the same for Istanbul. Oh well. I've been doing some archeology lately to try and bring in some more obscure and interesting covers into our live set to make things a bit more iteresting, at least for us. I'm glad your digging the CD!

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Here's Phil Dirt's 5 star review at Reverb Central:

Congratulations Ryan, Steve and Chris! Rock

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

The Secret Samurai - Gun Sho Gun
Muad Dib

Well now, I sure like this. This is a totally solid release with consistent sound and energy, and some really good writing and playing. Modern surf with traditional tone. You won't be disappointed.

Picks: Don't Fear The Reverb, Shoegazer, Bereft Of Enemies, Titus, Sink Or Swim, Bakersfield, L'Ultimo Basamento, Off The Richter (Act II), Dastardly Deeds, Istanbul, The Song Remains Insane

Don't Fear The Reverb
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Are you surprised that "Don't Fear The Reverb" is reverb laden? This is an aggressive double picked number with a flashy lead guitar and heavy beat. The melody line is slightly mean, and is played with dangerous energy. Very cool track!

Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"Shoegazer" os definitely not a shoegazer of an instro. This is a splashy song with high energy and a spiffy melody line. The spunk and drive really keep you focused.

Bereft Of Enemies
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"Bereft Of Enemies" is a lovely and rich surf instro with a wonderful melody and Spanish flair. Whammy chords say surf, as does the reverb. This is one of those songs that delicate and loud, and superbly engaging.

Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Fast and double picked with splashy flair, "Titus" has a bit of a Spanish edge, and a very compelling melody line. Adventurous and full of vigor!

Sink Or Swim
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is raucous and reverby, with great drums and a ton of spunk. "Sink Or Swim" drives relentlessly to that perfect curl. Great drums and dribbling double picking, along with thick reverb chords.

Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
A country beat behind rich reverb gives rise to the unlikely notion of surf in Bakersfield, home to Buck Owens. This is a splashy hoe-down for the short board generation. Pretty fun!

L'Ultimo Basamento
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
"L'Ultimo Basamento" is a slow number with rich reverb imagery presented through the wonder of Leo's dripping springs. Exotic island and Mexican sounds seem to be everywhere. The melody is truly wonderful.

Off The Richter (Act II)
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is a song brought forward from "Surf Report," and it's simply superb! Grand galloping drums and rhythm. and big splashy surf guitar. "Off The Richter (Act II)" is really friendly and rich.

Dastardly Deeds
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Big chords a la Dick Dale's jammier numbers from the day open "Dastardly Deeds." What starts out as a less interesting track that's more riffy than most The Secret Samurai songs, eventually evolves into something much more.

Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
This is a splendid version of J. Kennedy and N. Simon's "Istanbul." It's sorta like a cross between the way The Halibuts and The Renegades did it, but also influenced by ancient versions. This is fast and dripping with reverb and riddled with tom toms. Too fun!

The Song Remains Insane
Surf Instrumental (Stereo)
Fast and lush with reverb power, "The Song Remains Insane" is chord laden and big. While you won't be whistling it, it sure does have energy and rich tone.


Wow, thanks for posting that Bob.

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Woo hoo!!! WTG!


I just put the CD in my mp3 player, and headed off to the gym. I really enjoy this recording. The guitar tone is great...lots of reverb, but not shrill, just big sounding.

Songwriting-wise it's a strong CD. I like the fact that many of the songs are into the 3 minute and beyond mark, and kept my interest the whole time. Nothing boring, or too repetative here. The band's performance is very solid. I highly recommend this CD.

..and it was great to work out to...made the time go by quickly Very Happy


Canadian Surf

Thanks for the kind words Rev. I'm glad you're enjoying the CD!

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Well, my copy arrived, and I echo what's been said: great surf tone, nice drippy guitar, dynamite rythm section and decent tunes. Really enjoying it!!/rockinrio.delrosa!/TheHighTides!/pages/The-Blue-Demons

Thanks Rio! I'm glad you're enjoying the disc. I'm looking forward to a new Eradicators disc Rock

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Here's a link to the San Diego Reader review from the "Hometown CD's" section:


I like the "genius" part

This release really has me excited about playing with the Secret Samurai!
I wont go song by song here, but over all the album has super energy, and the production reminds me of Slacktones recordings. Having the guitar - that in-your-face takes guts, and it sounds like Ruhar pulls it off without effort, owning every note.

I love the quotes, or near-quotes that really tweak the listeners ears.

best of all I really dig the "outside" sounding notes and chords the are peppered throughout the album. Nicely done.


Very kind words sir! Thank you. We're going to have a blast playing with you guys in July. Really looking forward to it.

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

I am really looking forward to that and other shows that SS is doing this summer.

I have talked to a few people on the phone, and in e-mails, and everybody just absolutely loves the Secret Samurai cd.



we played this in the shop all morning........... Thumbs Up

Cool Carol! Thanks!!
I'm glad you like it.

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Cool Carol! Thanks!!
I'm glad you like it.

and it gets better with every listen. Very Happy

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