California to Japan On a Wave

Live in Japan Town (POP Records)
Pollo Del Mar

By David Lilly

How would you like to vicariously attend a concert in California and Japan at the same time? Surf-rockers Pollo Del Mar recorded a gig in a section of San Francisco, Calif., called Japan Town. Because some audiences in other countries are receptive to entertainment that mainstream America ignores, this recording makes sense. Pollo Del Mar, a band that proclaims to be taking instrumental surf-rock kicking and screaming into the 21st century, already has an following here and is interested in infiltrating oriental surf and turf. This show is a good start.

Three shadowy songs from the first two PDM albums begin the show. After the spooky "Annabelle Lee," PDM plunges into a surprising and exceptionally well-played medley of "Baby Elephant Walk," "Music To Watch Girls By" and "Linus & Lucy." The skill with which they segue from one song to another indicates a lot of talent, work and professionalism. Mystifying as it might seem, I can envision Ozric Tentacles playing some of the material on this album. In particular, "231-B" and "Ubik" sound like PDM has entered Ozric territory and done so convincingly. That's a big prog-surf compliment, coming from me.

A cover of Led Zep's "Four Sticks," without vocals, is equally intriguing as part of another medley including "Moon Over Marin" and the rocking, "Devil's Slide." Whatever you do, do not confuse PDM's "Route 666" with any version of "Route 66" that you've heard. Both songs are great, but quite different. "Route 666" has no lyrics and it cooks, as does the song after it, entitled, "Insecticide." Remember Steve Garrett and Kurt Cobain? Keep listening.

Maybe you've heard the theory that most music albums have maybe two or three really good songs and the rest is filler. This CD is an exception. You are strongly encouraged to check these guys out for yourself at