Search - Fathoms :: Fathomless

Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop


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CD Details

All Artists: Fathoms
Title: Fathomless
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Independent Nat'l Di
Release Date: 8/20/1996
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 768501700224

CD Reviews

Don't Fear The Reverb
Alan Hutchins | Denver, CO | 01/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Fathomless" is the debut disc from Boston's Fathoms. Frankie Blandino put together a tight two guitars-bass-drums-sax 5 piece surf act (with matching suits, natch) circa 1995 and went about writing his way back to 1963 for these 16 originals and one cover ("Night Scene" , which I believe is a fairly obscure B-side from '63 by the Rumblers). This was originally released in 1996 on Atomic Beat records/AVI. (As of this writing, it is criminally expensive given its "out of print since before Clinton left office" status and apparent renewed interest in this group.)

Though this is a CD, it would not have been surprising to find this release on vinyl only, since "Fathomless" could not be more retro if it tried. The wet, sticky acres of guitar reverb, the growling sax and the overall minor key mood here are so totally associated with the west coast surf sound that this disc could pass for a better-fidelity version of something straight out of the no-vocals school of the first wave of surf music. Even the cover art will take you back to those tacky Venture album covers of the early 60's. You'll hear all of the expected surf moves here: glissandos ("Fathomless", "Five Fathoms Deep"), speed picking ala Dick Dale ("Riptide", "Incognito"--check out a clip of the original Fathoms lineup performing this one on YouTube), tremolo ("Night Scene"), and tasteful whammy bar useage everywhere. There are some other authentic period touches--breathy "chick" title utterances and giggling in "Groovy Boots", and wordless guys doing backing "ahhs" in "Kwaljalein" (The Fathoms' offshoot rockabilly group called the Cranktones are the ones hitting the notes).

Frankie can sure write great surf tunes--he's got all of the writing credits here save "Night Scene"--yes, even one called "Blandino". There are some instant classics here; this is a great album with a minimal amount of "just three chords" typical surf proggressions going on. (The songs that essentially follow that typical 12-bar, 3 chord blueprint are "Groovy Boots", "Dune Buggy", "Kwaljalein", and "Rockabilly Surfer".) Just when you've got some songs pegged, Frankie writes in some great twists. "Backslider" for instance, appears to be a comprised solely of a typical E minor to C major progression that you've heard many times before, but then all of the sudden here comes an upward modulating section of key changes and guitar/sax dueling that ends up doing a loop back around to the home key in an ingenious manner. Many tunes can conjure up great imagery and would make some excellent film music. I can envision "Shadow Of A Doubt" running over the closing credits to some B-movie about tragic, unrequited love. "Crystal Ball" is a fast tango that belongs a night-club dance off scene.

This disc (if you can find it affordably) comes highly recommended for anyone who loves this sort of stuff--beware that there is nary a hint of any musical development which ocurred after the Kennedy assasination, but these guys do retro so well that you won't won't mind being transported back to a much different America. This is the most thoroughly "surf" of the Fathoms three releases (as of 2008) and should be sought out by afficianados of that soaking wet sound everywhere."