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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Phil Dirt Review: Declassified *****

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Just came across this from
Thanks Phil!

The Penetrators - Declassified
This is a superb documentary of one of the great surfbands of the nineties. Their existence was cut short by the untimely death of Rip Thrillby, but not without leaving a serious mark on modern surf. I must confess to not listening to their music lately, and this DVD ended that.

Songs like "Deception Bay," "Melodie's Dilemma," "The Wind Beneath My Kilt," and "Redlined" are must have tracks. While this is mostly ambient video sound, the visuals bring to life once again the amazing thing that was The Penetrators.

Declassified is an essential part of your library!
Picks: Secret Agent Man / James Bond theme, Night Of The Drunken Cheerleaders, Last Of The V-8 Interceptors, Redlined, Speed Bump, Bennett Cerf, Red Sunrise, The Wind Beneath My Kilt, Triple-Dog Dare, Carl's Bad, Melodie's Dilemma, Codename: Gypsy, High Tide, Another Time, Another Place, Locked and Loaded, Southern Surf Syndicate Theme, Bikini Drag, Deception Bay

Track by Track Review

Secret Agent Man / James Bond theme
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a lively and aggressive performance of two classic spy themes, with ambient audio. The first half is overdubbed with a rambling narrative about pushing out the hippies and boring jams, and the founding of The Southern Surf Syndicate. While early in their career, this visual document displays the spunk and style that was to become their signature. This medley of "Secret Agent Man" and "James Bond Theme" was captured at The Penetrators very first performance at The Chukker in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Night Of The Drunken Cheerleaders
Surf (Instrumental)

"Night of the Drunken Cheerleaders" is joyous and so simple, it's brilliant! The circular riff is very good. It's all uplifting energy and reverb. Recorded at The Paradise Lounge in San Francisco, the audio is in ambient stereo, or perhaps a soundboard derivative.

Last Of The V-8 Interceptors
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine instrumental with a warm melody and lot's of power. Structurally similar to "Melodie's Dilemma," this song is all fun and rhythm. The midsection is the best part, with the more of an obvious melody line. "Last Of The V-8 Interceptors" was recorded at The Point in Atlanta, Georgia. The audio is audience and limited in quality.

Surf (Instrumental)

Hot machine gun pick action and flying guitar fingers mark this exceptional track. My goodness, this totally shred. They musta had their Wheaties the morning this was cut! Blazing fast superfine playing on this surf riff rocker. The writing is really nice, and the performance deluxe. A great track. The video was shot, directed, and edited by Paul Mayne, Florida State Film School graduate program, and the audio is from CD.

Speed Bump
Surf (Instrumental)

"Speed Bump" is a fast, quirky song with a bunch of energy. The audio is all distorted, but the performance rules, and the video is vintage Penetrators. It's a very cool song, catchy, and fun. It was captured at Dottie's in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bennett Cerf
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid cover of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet's "Bennett Cerf." While the audio is ambient video trashy, the energy and power are captured, and the visuals are exciting. This was shot at The Point, Atlanta, Georgia, with extra video footage used from Florida State Student Center. Big fun here!

Red Sunrise
Surf (Instrumental)

Big spunk and a great melody line with driving drums and powerful bass lines give this song and performance high marks. The song's lovely melody is double pick with fire and style. "Red Sunrise" is special because it captures the last performances by Rip Thrillby in a composite of footage from a private party in Atlanta, Georgia, Rip's last performance, and his last club gig at The Earl, Atlanta, Georgia.

The Wind Beneath My Kilt
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Wind Beneath My Kilt" is one of my favorite Penetrators songs. This track is an infectious Scottish surf ditty. It is more Scottish than The Chantays' "Scotch Highs." It's just so infectious! The last time anyone came close to this sort of thing was when The Amboy Dukes cut "Scottish Tea" on their seminal Journey To the Center Of Your Mind album. This is melodic, endearing, and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy. It was recorded at the Student Center at Florida State, Tallahassee.

Triple-Dog Dare
Surf (Instrumental)

"Triple-Dog Dare" is a rhythmic track, with really nifty lead and rhythm interplay in the bridge. It grows on you, in part because of the infectious ska-like rhythm. This was video tapes at Dottie's, Atlanta, Georgia, with additional video from The Chukker, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Carl's Bad
Surf (Instrumental)

"Carl's Bad" was captured at The Paradise Lounge in San Francisco. It's all about the rhythm and chop chord reverb. Frat rock like, but still very surf!

Melodie's Dilemma
Surf (Instrumental)

"Melodie's Dilemma" is my other favorite Penetrators song. It's a grand, melodic, rhythmic chord driven infectious song. This is one of those songs that just sticks with you, and live, it's just too cool for school! Dramatic and sad and very VERY cool! The tremble, the reverb, the glissandos... it's all here! "Melodie's Dilemma" was filmed at The Point, Atlanta, Georgia.

Codename: Gypsy
Surf (Instrumental)

"Codename: Gypsy" is big and dramatic. In a slightly ska sifted Mediterranean mood, the song sparkles with spies and spaghetti. Hot double picking and an infectious ska rhythm. The audio is from Dottie's, in Atlanta, and the video is from Rip's last club gig at The Earl in Atlanta.

Wicked Game
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wicked Game" is a lovely, slow moving number with spooky garage female vocals. Shot at a private party in Sea Grove Beach, Florida, it's stopped abruptly with the statement: "we don't sing."

High Tide
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally shredding hot playing that's high spirited. Very surfy, and picked very fast. The audio to this ripe cover of The Lively Ones' "High Tide" is from the CD Hit The Jet Stream with the Penetrators, and the video is from The Chukker, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Another Time, Another Place
Surf (Instrumental)

"Another Time, Another Place" is a delicate and rhythmic trad number with great rhythm guitar under a sparkling lead. It's infectious and richly arranged. The melody invokes cautiously optimistic emotions and a wonderful sense of the curl. This is from The Earl, Atlanta - Rip's last club gig.

Locked and Loaded
Surf (Instrumental)

This is heavy, lumbering, and dangerous in a Dutch surf crunch way. Dramatic moodiness, and a perfectly minimal lead line. "Locked and Loaded"grows on you from a spares beginning through a complete composition. Excellent. The audio is from Rip's last gig at The Earl in Atlanta, and the video is from The Point, also in Atlanta, Georgia.

Southern Surf Syndicate Theme
Surf (Instrumental)

"Southern Surf Syndicate Theme" is a tasty track from Locked And Loaded. It's very playful, and readily identifiable as theirs, with a very friendly melody line, and an infectious rhythm. Great video play too.

Bikini Drag
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyramids' "Bikini Drag" rips and rocks at Dottie's in Atlanta (sound), and video from everywhere. It's a raucous performance with the band very hot! Simply a ton of fire!

Deception Bay
Surf (Instrumental)

The closing credits run atop "Deception Bay" from the Locked And Loaded CD. Splendid opening drama as the picture comes into focus. It's a misty island, with the fog lifting and a bit of hidden danger just beyond the beach where the lords of the new surf lurk in the thicket.

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Thanks for posting the review. I'm a big fan of the Penetrators! I love their great guitar lines and variety of musical stylings.

Once again Phil has brought some more great surf music to everyone's attention. I think his site is one of the premiere places to keep on top of a variety of surf related music. I also like that he is a little more open minded than a lot of other surf witlings.



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