The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, February 21, 2003, Music

Friends of Dean Martinez

On the Shore (Narnack) With titles like "The Enchanted Sea" and "Red Sails in the Sunset," Santo & Johnny's Offshore breeze from 1963 is oceans away from "Overload," the Zeppelin-esque opener to the Friends of Dean Martinez's new 2-CD hallucination, On the Shore. When the levee breaks and the Austin-based trio cuts loose, the sparking electrical refuse at tune's end whipsaws like The Terminator. So much for Santo & Johnny's original seashell sounds: pedal steel instrumentals. That's when the waters part, and up pops an acoustic strum true to FODM's Sub Pop debut and everything after. Santo & Johnny live on in Bill Elm's searing steel work and in his electrifying covers, like disc one's "Wichita Lineman" and a positively Hendrix "Star Spangled Banner" take on "Tennessee Waltz." The psychedelic Disneyness of original "For All Time" holds its own. While side one smelts the band's In the Wire limited-edition double-45 with part of an import-only live disc (Live at Club 2) -- both also found on the Wichita Lineman import -- the second half of On the Shore is newer material with plenty of its own moments. The electro Doors miasma of "And Love to Be the Master of Hate," guitarist Mike Semple's sighing guitar lamentation on "Time's Not Your Friend," and the stifling blur of "Indian Summer" boil over. Emerging from the water with all the bubbliness of the Creature From the Black Lagoon is the seven-minute title track. That's when the storm subsides and Semple's liquid "Cahuenga" funnels Santo & Johnny like so much sea and sand. On the Shore, take the plunge.


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