The Phantom Surfers

Play the Music From the Big Screen Spectaculars

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Masked San Francisco surf 'n' instrumental revivalists the Phantom Surfers never met a gimmick they couldn't pull off with more nostalgic verisimilitude and humor. From their on-vinyl flirtations with the big-in-their-own-minds slot car racing fad to their worship of the late-'60s cult classic film Skater Dater, the Phantom Surfers walk it like they talk it. Play the Music From the Big Screen Spectaculars finds the Surfers as a quintet, with Trent "Big Drag" Ruane of Frisco garage punk pals the Mummies on guitar alongside Johnny "Big Hand" Bartlett and Mel "Frostbite" Bergman on the other two twangy, reverb-soaked guitars, plus Michael "Daddy Love" Lucas on bass and Maz "Tender Pants" Kattuah on drums. The cuts here are, as you may have guessed, culled from the soundtracks of such '60s cheez classics as Rat Pfink a Boo-Boo, Bikini Beach, and Gammera, as well as from South Pacific ("Bali Hai") and Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls, a contemporary B-movie made in the sexploitation style. That they inject a spark of originality into what could have been a mere exercise in kitsch and that they do it with such a love of the source material are reasons enough to tune in to these 14 numbers. From the ironic wink of the cover (the lads are pictured atop their touring van outside a porn theater) to the virtuosic playing and style the Surfers bring to the cuts, Play the Music From the Big Screen Spectaculars sets the bar high for aspiring retro revivalists. But even for casual listeners, it's fun to shoot the Surfers' curl on this full-length.