= November 2015 =  
The Bevis Frond
Adrian Shaw
Soft Hearted Scientists
Terminal Lovers
Donovan's Brain
Bari Watts
United Bible Studies
Dave Thompson
Us and Them
Theodor Bastard
Richard Moult
Empty Vessel
Delphine Dora
Ape Machine
Old Man Lizard
My Home on Trees
Deej Dhariwal
Teeth of the Sea
Paul Roland
The Chemistry Set


LP/CD on Woronzow

According to Nick Saloman the title of this latest outing reflects the number of albums he has released over  the years. And if you want to find what really sets Example 22 apart from White Numbers, or indeed its twenty forerunners, you're going to need to be prepared to listen to it patiently and carefully, coming back to it a few times (as I'm sure you will), as that's where I think you will find the magic locked away in songs that are variously existential, introspective, questioning and even pleading in nature.

Having surprised us with The Leaving Of London after a long hiatus, then amazingly upped his game with White Numbers such a short time later, it's perhaps unsurprising that Example 22 delivers the goods by a slightly different, more subtle route.

Having heard it a several times myself now I think what sets Example 22 apart from the rest of his back catalogue is the rich maturity of the sound, no doubt helped by the excellent production values born of lessons learned across previous efforts, allowing him to incrementally refine his sound down through the years. Add to that the fact that the current line-up of Saloman, Shaw, Simmons and Pearce have been together for several years and now know how to interact with one another on an instinctive level, both live and in the studio.

Pretty much everything you want from a Bevis Frond album is here, albeit packaged slightly differently than in other recorded outings. The songs are all fairly compact, averaging four to a (vinyl) side, so no repeat of the two-sided jam we saw in White Numbers, but then that was exceptional and not to be repeated too soon in my humble opinion.

Nick's voice, both implicitly criticised and finally accepted in “Waiting For Sinatra” and his fiery fretwork are perfectly complimented by Paul Simmons considerable skills and augmented here and there by long time friend and former band member Bari Watts, plus Ade Shaw's loping bass which is frequently encouraged to a full-on charge, and Dave Pearce's lithe drumming.

There's little or no evidence of guitar for guitar's sake, and it's (relatively) sparingly used for the most part, and always to maximum effect within the scope of the song it occupies. Gorgeous acoustic guitar features throughout the album, although you'll have to listen out for it, and keyboards are frequently heard powering songs along.

Lyrically the album is quite cryptic, posing little puzzles that briefly tease the mind before the next is delivered, and I've already mentioned what I believe to be an existential theme running throughout the album, occasionally interspersed with veiled political explorations “Blame The Rain”, “Manual Labour”, the ever-present (and always welcome) relationship and mortality songs.

“Where Is Egon Schiele” is something of an interesting curiosity, and perhaps something of a throwback to Nick's art college days, where we are introduced to a controversial artist who survived World War I, only to die shortly after his young wife and unborn child in the Spanish 'flu epidemic that went on to eclipse the war in terms of the havoc it wreaked in Europe. I love it when a song has me searching for information about it, and educates me with what I find, and this is a fine example.

There's plenty of energy and fire in this album, it's just carefully controlled and channelled to maximum effect. Bari's blistering guitar solos on “Blame The Rain” and “Second Son” surface for long enough to blaze a trail across your consciousness before receding and allowing Simmons/Saloman to come back to the fore. Similarly Nick and Paul's guitars fire up for just long enough to make their point emphatically before allowing the rest of the band back into the rich mix.

If anything Example 22 is the classic Frond album, taking everything you have loved about its forerunners and encapsulating it in four sides (with apologies to CD /download owners), and I genuinely believe it will eventually be regarded as such, unless of course Example 23 is already germinating in Nick's mind and flowing from his fingertips onto paper, keys, string and frets!  (Sean Gibbins)


(Available on Preamp Records)

Although his C.V. reads like one of Pete Frame’s Rock Family Trees and he’s been recording and playing in bands for nearly 50 years, this is “only” Shaw’s seventh solo outing. Along with stints in Hawkwind/Hawklords, Mick Farren and The Deviants, and Magic Muscle, Shaw has contributed his subtle-yet-melodic anchoring bass lines to releases from Anton Barbeau, Tom Rapp, Keith Christmas, Country Joe McDonald, and longtime mates, Rod Goodway and Bari Watts. And, of course, he has held the bass position in The Bevis Frond for the past quarter century! With a pedigree like that, it’s safe to say that Shaw can play just about anything that his bosses require – folk, psych, rawk… he’s even featured in the band that recorded the soundtrack to a Dutch porno film, and plays tabla and drums on one of Pete Pavli’s [High Tide] solo albums and trumpet(!) on Gong vocalist Gilli Smyth’s latest.

In spite (or perhaps because) of his faithful duties in someone else’s band, Shaw’s solo albums always seem to be completely different kettles of fish from what we’re used to hearing him play. Left to his own devices (and despite a few contributions here from old Frond friends like Nick Saloman and Bari Watts, Shaw usually plays all the instruments on his albums), his solo work seems more melodic and introspective, with poignant, seemingly autobiographical lyrics about his place in the world. With titles like ‘A Clean Slate’, ‘When I’m Gone’, ‘The Divine,’ and ‘The Question of Life’, he also seems to be getting his affairs in order, although we hope he’ll continue to grace his (and Frond) albums for many years to come.

            Opening with J. Robert Oppenheimer (“the father of the atomic bomb”) quoting the Bhagavad Gita about “becoming death” and “destroying worlds”, the title track is a litany of conquered vices (drugs, war, medical maladies, etc.), with Shaw’s chosen profession showing him life’s highs and lows, but “it’s all I ever wanted to do”. Perhaps looking back nostalgically on the innocence of youth (before the Summer of ’67 changed everything as suggested by another sound clip), the song ends with the League of Ovaltineys’ theme song, ‘We Are Ovaltineys’ (“We’re happy boys and girls!”) Perhaps Ade was a member?!

            Watts whips off a searing solo on ‘A Clean Slate’, much like his similarly deputised turn on The Bevis Frond’s ‘Once More’ (Inner Marshland, 1987), and the Frond himself, Nick Saloman, plugs in and let’s his freak flag fly and nimble fingers bleed with a flashy, blistering solo on ‘When I’m Gone’. And to complete the triumvirate of guest guitarists, Shaw’s son Aaron holds his own amidst his more notable six-string slingers with a tasty workout that adds the finishing touches to ‘The Divine’.

            Shaw can get reflective when he wants to, and ‘Going Home’ is a contemplative mood piece with a distinctly Floydian flavour, and Pavli’s viola adds an elegant baroque air to the atmospheric ‘The Dream’. ‘Be Not Weak’ drops some backwards vocals and effects into the swirling arrangement that seems quite Lennonesque (cf. Revolver, Sgt. Pepper) and there is a sweetly mellifluous streak running through the dirgy ‘So It Goes’ that suggests hope lies within its resolute conclusions.

            Taking a page out of Tom Rapp’s early Pearly Before Swine covers, Shaw adorns his album in detailed segments from Hieronymus Bosch’s “Conjurer” and “Death and The Miser”. Both of which suggest hidden secrets and deceptions, just like many of the songs he’s written here, although interpretations of the latter have suggested Bosch was continuing a theme set out in the “Garden Of Earthly Delights” and is emphasizing the “Miser”’s reflection back on the events of his life as he prepares to pass on into another realm (e.g., heaven). The thematic exploration of death is quite pronounced throughout Colours and Shaw has couched his tales and reflections in warm, organic melodies and arrangements that will remain long after the CD is returned to its jewel case.

(Jeff Penczak)



(2xCD from Fruits de Mer )

Oh Yay! Oh Yay! Vinyl single specialists FdeM go against type by releasing a (omygawd) double CD!

Right, that’s that out of the way.

This welcome compilation captures a cross-section of those lovely Cardiff Softs up to and including 2013’s False Lights. Bookended by two versions of the theme from “The Likely Lads” which lends its name to the title (look bear with me here), as you might imagine, here is a collection of wistful, mostly delightful and occasionally painstakingly crafted ditties of pastoral eccentricity and Welsh whimsy.

“Mount Palamor” negotiates the choppy waters of “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” but it’s “Wendigo” establishes the template of repetitive, mantra-like verse over lush, shimmering keys while the delightfully catchy “Brother Sister”, an early highlight, further emphasises the nod towards a recurring Canterbury complex.

Now this is all well and good but things climb a rung or two once we hit CD 2 (the band even gets to shake the dandruff and twitter the oscillators a bit on “Caterpillar Eyes”) and especially selections from the Scarecrow Smile and beyond and especially “The Strangest Scene”, by which time we are transported to somewhere very wonderful indeed. Nathan Hall, it seems, can chuck these tunes together in the time it takes for the kettle to boil and the reliance on him as main songwriter means that song patterns inevitably repeat themselves. Ah, but then when your song’s this good what compelling reason can there possibly be for deviating from script? There’s also great fun to be had in spotting the Welsh place names, while in “The Yongy Bongy Bo” we have one of the best song-titles for children of all ages everywhere.

Ian Fraser



(CD/Digital album from Biological Records )

A short sharp blast from Dave Cintron and his Ohio co and one which is the aural equivalent of a pipe load of DMT on the central nervous system. The squally, snarky Lacuna kicks us off and immediately we’re in one of those “psychedelic dungeons” referred to by the Mothers way back when. You know the ones down the back alley and away from all those corny “beautiful people”? Of course you do!  “Gone” is another snotty salvo, a bit more in the classic rock vein this time but avoiding the lumpen formulas occasionally associated therewith. It sounds like it’s been around forever but still smells fresh. “Hot Nights” is early Alice Cooper on some very nasty stuff indeed and with a typically expressive to the point of blistering Cintron solo, before “The Sea” slows things down mid-set but still can’t resist getting a bit grungy in the mid-section and who said slow ever meant sweet? “The Lamp” reworks the Ellevators “Rollercoaster” riff and in fact there is an Erikson quality to Cintron’s vocal although the overall sound here is rather gentler and more sophisticated than you’d think. “Meaning Over” is the obligatory long ‘un, the early days of which provides some gorgeous cerebral noodling before kicking in about two-thirds through where after it burns on all six cylinders, the twittering synths lending a whiff of Hawkwind ’72. It’s then straight into the closing rocker “Bloodstone Eyes”, probably the least satisfying here and unflattering in the way in which it reveals certain limitations in Cintron’s vocals. That aside it’s an immensely enjoyable romp and one that’s been good to know.

Ian Fraser



(CD from Career Records http://www.careerrecords.com/)

Dedicated to the late Richard Treece, beloved of this parish, the veteran Paisley minor nobility (ex-Rain Paraders and Long Ryders feature) turn in a set of sub-Byrdsian jingle-jangle with lyrics seemingly fixated on rocky personal relationships. Unfortunately, considering the band’s provenance, taken as a whole this is no better than ok: the pop/psych too often veering dangerously towards the soft verge of easy listening. You keep willing the hooks to work when often they don’t quite. There is in fact a Tom Petty feel for much of Heirloom Varieties but one that brings to mind the Wilburys rather than the Heartbreakers. It does have its moments though and they are very good ones, such as the urgent “Lightning Life” which is the closest the Montana-based collective comes to bossing their sound and which invokes wonderfully the spirit of Syd Barrett. The closing “Sailing Off The Edge” with its shimmering reverb guitar, off-kilter beat and a pleasing if rather moody melody also hints at what coulda-shoulda been. A missed opportunity you feel and one destined to be cherry picked for the iPod.

Ian Fraser




(Available on Dark Skies)

Indeed, there was a time some four and a half decades ago that one Marc Bolan was, according to Bari’s liner notes, “the biggest pop sensation of the time”. Aided and abetted variously by Steve Peregrin Took (who died 35 years ago this week), Bill Legend (the only surviving member), Steve Currie, and Mickey Finn, Bolan ruled the charts and airwaves in the early '70s as the wild-haired wonder fronting both Tyrannosaurus Rex and its glammy successor, T. Rex. This is Watts’ tribute to his hero. But it’s not simply a collection of cover tunes (there are plenty of Bolan-related tribute albums already). Watts meticulously, but not slavishly, recreates some of Bolan’s signature styles, right down to enlisting Middle Earth DJ (and America manager) Jeff Dexter to sit in for John Peel and contribute the spoken word segment of the title track while Bari emulates Bolan’s bleating goat warble in the background.

So, with the respect due to Neil Innes for his own honourable discharge that is The Rutles, we can sit back and play “spot the original” as Watts chronologically performs his own spot-on impressions of Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex period via the surreal wordplay on the hippie gumbo ‘Ratskull’, the slurred acid folk ballads, ‘Here There Be Dragons’ and ‘Crystal Pagoda’, the bongo fury of ‘Kerenza’ (complete with awesome Tookish vocal squeals), and the dreamy (albeit quite Prince-ly) ‘Gypsy Girl’, wherein Bari tries out some of his own Bolan guitar moves to great effect. (Bari understands how underrated a guitarist Bolan was and uses his own skill sets to attempt to acknowledge this in his own inimitable way. Check out his solos at the fade to ‘Motorcycle Ram’ and throughout the chugging swamp stomp of ‘Demon Love’.)

The seminal T. Rex period is unveiled with the stomping flash of ‘The Queen of The Marshes Call’, the elegiac, ‘Ballrooms of Mars’-y ‘Magical Myst’, and the intentional anti-Donovan whimsy of ‘Magic Hurdy Gurdy Man’ (I’ve got an idea for your next album, Bari!) For balls-to-the-wall rawk, bang a gong along with the ‘Raw Ramp’-y ‘Fly with the Silver Swan’, “slide” along to ‘Boogie Mama’, and put on your dancing shoes and do the ‘Antediluvian Hop’. And if you haven’t already guessed, the track list is a veritable litany of punny Bolanistic titles: ‘The Wizard of The Skies’, ‘The Queen of The Marshes Call’, ‘Motorcycle Ram’ (Bolan, probably to his and our eternal regret, never drove, but he wrote numerous “car songs”), ‘Crystal Pagoda’, and ‘Fly With The Silver Swan’.

Bari’s own career dates back nearly three decades to his 1987 debut as the titular “Lord of The Dark Skies”, his debut release under the Outskirts of Infinity moniker on Nick (Bevis Frond) Saloman’s Woronzow imprint (Saloman was the Outskirts’ bassist on the album!) He also contributed to several Woronzow compilations and played some blistering guitar solos on several Bevis Frond albums (including the pseudonymous Scorched Earth), along with solo albums by Frond bassist, Adrian Shaw (see review elsewhere), who plays bass throughout in his own spot-on Steve Currie manner. [Saloman himself contributes Sitar Guitar to ‘Magic Hurdy Gurdy Man’.] So Watts’ pedigree as an ace axe man is unimpeachable. Here his talents as an inveterate interpreter of one of his own biggest influences is lovingly and respectfully presented and has the double advantage of appealing to fans of both its creator and its inspiration. As mentioned earlier, there are any number of straight Bolan tributes out there (cf., Resurrection of The Warlock, Children of The Revolution, the Bolan tribute band T.Rextasy’s Legacy, and the curiously-titled Great Jewish Music.) By honouring instead of aping, Watts has created the best of the lot.

(Jeff Penczak)




Welcome to the palindrome, or, Oho in redux....I can't quite pin down the very first occasion I came across the name OHO. No doubt it was from a zine such as Trev Faull's "Outlet" or Jimmy and Byron's "Forced Exposure."... who can tell in those dark pre-internet times? But what I can state with some certainty is that the first Oho vinyl I scored by this obscurist Baltimoreian outfit was a lavish vinyl repro of "Vitamin Oho" issued by the sorely missed "Little Wing of refugees" imprint (pictured left), which was sold to me by one of 'the two Bills' at the again, sorely missed 'Plastic Passion' emporium, once of London's Notting Hill.

For me, Oho seemed to share rack space with fellow countrymen The Rascal Reporters, The Muffins and even Ohioans Tin Huey - Canterbury's overseas branch, if you will. As an extra boost to their cred... they were hep enough to get a mention in George & Defoe's "International Discography of the New Wave" megatome, which suggests some kinda avant prog/post punk allignment type thing. For this career overview, I've decided to set out my stall on Oho-branded and Oho-related produce in chronological order. So... we open the curtains on an Oho-precursor called GROK; a sixtet who flickered on and off during the early seventies and shared somewhat incongruous billing with L.J. Baldrey, Dave Mason and a pre-fame Aerosmurf (!) Grok's sleeve-art is a fine piece of work, recalling 'The Galaxy Being" from American T.V.'s "Outer Limits" and while the contents of their sel-titled c.d. aren't quite aglow with unearthly kozmik energy (cue spooky theremin...), there's still a solid body of compact, hard rock flexing within, which comes allied to a number of unusual stylistic detours and some obtuse elements residing in the wordsmithery department. "Hopeless" and "Insanity" have some strident femme/male vocal trade-offs, c/o Bill Joy and Colette Kelly, while the instro scenery heads towards the heavier end of the spectrum, kinda like Serpent Power chaperoned by Blue Oyster Cult's Sandy Pearlman. As a p.o.i., engineering duties on thos tracks were overseen by the legendary Dick Kunc and if you're only a mild Zappophile, you'd know that name as well as your own. Witness also the mid-period Byrds-a-like "That she is you", replete with a banjo solo that'd elicit a grin from Roger McGuinn. The jokey Martin Mullesque "C.R.S." (Can't Remember Shit), is a soft shoe shuffle hymn to those senior moments, while "Keep the Changes Comin'" is jumpstarted by an irreverent snatch of that ole warhorse..."Smoke on the Water". The epic blow-out (coming in at 15.17), "The Lady and the Serpent" is a live recording from 1973 and alongside the obligatory drum solo, there's some splendid axe manipulation by one Dale German, whose playing, right through this collection, one minute stinging, the next lyrical is one hell of a discovery and certainly worthy of inclusion in the next set of Galactic Zoo Dossier "Guitar Gods" trading cards. It's a crying shame (how many times have you heard this?), that Grok didn't get a disc or two to their name during their brief time in the smaller spotlights. Nevertheless this career anthology, culled from sources various, consistently grabs the attention, decades later.

And so emerging from the ashes of 'Gothic Progressives' Little Hans and purist bloozband Quinn (containing ex-Grok guitarist Jay Graboski), come the Ohomen! Their now highly collectable debut full lengther "Okinawa" was initially realized as a quadruple ten-inch set, packaged in a metal box (yah boo sucks Public Image!), on their own Oho imprint. Since then, 'Little Wing's" 1995 vinyl repro made a change in sleeve art concepts, coming topped and tailed in a fetching shade of shocking pink, redolent of sixties tiled bathrooms. The 'Rockadrome' cd edition ('under review') duplicates this colour scheme and increases the bulk with an extra sixteen cuts taken from sessions of a 1974 vintage. One of the first albums released independently by a U.S. band in the seventies, its super abrupt time changes, art-damaged babble, Mothers-like genre parodies and Broadway dadaisms sadly bombed on release. The good burghers of Baltimore and surrounding areas having their noses put out of joint by its avantist thrust and high level general weirdness quotient; with tracks like "Brown Algae is Attractive", "The Salient Sickle Sucker", and "A Frog for You" wearing a peculiar bouquet even to this very day. And check out lyrical poesie such as "Your douchebag is leaking on my ceiling and I don't like it. Almond clusters on my bedspread look like pygmies without their heads. All the hearts are in a pile. All the livers are full of bile." (from "Manic Detective"). So there goes local airplay too! And while the liner notes drop certain mentions of Canterburyesque/Brit prog moves, I think "Okinawa"'s nearest relatives (just over the brow of yonder hill in that tumbledown shack...) must surely be those other great genius misfits of the age; The Hampton Grease Band, whose debut double set, on a major label no less, corpsed too!!

Shinning down the Oho family tree a little more, we find former Oho members Mark O'Connor (keyboards etc) and Jay Graboski embracing THE DARK SIDE; an outfit belonging to the first wave of U.S. garage band revivalists along with The Unclaimed, The Chesterfield Kings and The Lyres. Their prime directive... reupholstering the moves and attitood of the classic American sixties teenbands for the demands of the discerning eighties swinger. Their "Odd Fellows on an Even Day" c.d. anthology comprises the now rare as hen's dentures "Rumors in our own Time, Legends in our own Room" L.P. (on the Go Hog label), with various other bits'n'bobs extracted from e.p.s, Voxx comps and suchlike. The two things that separated them from their contemporaries? Of the twenty-six tracks on show, only one (count it!) is a cover version and secondly, that certain details within the garagage blueprint such as the adenoidenally-edged vocals aligned with blasts of angry wasp fuzztone are given a total heave-ho. Instead we have widescreen production values, manly guitar chordage, cheesy farfisa trills and David Johansen-styled motormouthery, from David Jarkovski, supported by Steve Simcoe's booting tenor sax (on "Good Boy" and "Can't get used to it"), operating in the same manner as the fabulous Buddy Bowser did on da Dolls' debut waxing. Other highpoints include the ornate harpsichord copperplate and Coral electric sitar (?) on "Bondage" and "Down the Tubes"; a classic mid-paced slice of teen angst that would've been an absolutely perfect fit for Del Shannon in his later years. Not a cuban heel or a bowl cut in sight!! Can such things be??

Recorded from 1981 to 1984 and then mastered in 1999, FOOD FOR WORMS' "The Ultimate Diet" c.d. fully endorses that old adage that when punk met keyboards, new wave was born. With Jay Graboski, Mark O'Connor, bassist Paul Rieger and David Reeve (The Dark Side's producer and drummer respectively), on board, one gets the impression that they've set their sights on the quirkier end of the new wave movement that emerged from British shores, with early Ultravox, Barry Andrews-era XTC, the Yachts and the much neglected Punishment of Luxury springing to mind. Those herky/jerky rivvums captured in bright, eye-rubbing colours, combine with staccato vocals that ooze dry wit; studies in alienation and consumer parodies scooting by in a hectic, blink and you'll miss it way. In fact, of the twenty-six choons here, the longest cut "The Worm is the Word" (paraphrasing The Trashmen?) comes in at 4.34, while the gaudy rush that is "Neil's Stick", at just over a minute and a half, is shown the chequered flag before being completing the course. I will say that listening to this disc in its entirety, in one go, is a bit like being egged on to demolish a mountain of cream cakes - the appetite flags way too soon. I'd suggest a five a day regime instead. Oh, and if you thought that their "Mr. Twister" track refers to the legendary Iggy-like performer/vocalist who fronted Christopher Milk and Chainsaw, you'd be sadly barking up the wrong tree. Any tributes out there to that particular gent (m.i.a.?) are I guess, still at the drawing board stage...

Matt Graboski ('son of Jay'), who guitarred on "Arclight" from "Where Words...) can also be found with powerful drummer Steve Sroka and his dad on bass duties, on EL SLEDGE (+)'s Their "Doom" c.d., after "The Baltimore Initiative" and "Fletcher's Last Night" releases is an unassuming looking package wrapped in plain brown card stock, (perhaps the non-promo copies get a plusher sleeve?). The accompanying post-it proclaiming "This is Heavy!" ...just about nails this particular beast in one fell swoop. Heavy in an early seventies kinda way, where a certain seam of hard rock is excavated, to which elements of prog and even jazz nuances are accommodated. Heavy metal fatigue need never be mentioned as this is a far more enticing prospect. Note the ascending riffs on "The Hour Glass", redolent (in parts),of a latter stage Crimso work out and the unpredictible twists 'n' turns written into a lion's share of the arrangements, (see "Primal Scream" and "The Eschaton"). Matt's vocals especially on the end times diorama "Golgotha" are a dramatic entity thankfully shorn of the histrionics seemingly employed by the hordes, thinking that 'oversinging' is an essential component of the genre. Not so. As "Doom" seems to be the last part of a trilogy (?)...what next fer th' Sledge (+)? Who knows, but they're certainly a name to retain in the brain...and before I forget...what's the story behind that bracketed 'plus sign'?

Meanwhile, back with OHO, their "Where Words do not Reach - The Instrumentals" c.d. was composed/performed over a thirty-one year period from 1974 to 2015 and employs the services of a huge host of instrumentalists, two football teams worth in fact. In amongst the windchime-ists and those fine purveyors of the french horn and hammer dulcimer, familiar names like Jay Graboski, Mark O'Connor, Joseph O'Sullivan, Larry Bright (Oho's drummer), and Dark Siders David Reeve, Jeff Graboski and Pete Wulforst are found to be in attendance. Though I'd say for sure, that guitarist Joseph O'Connor really steals this particular show. And while he's more tastefully submerged within the workings of "Dog Lane", "House Party" and the jaunty, Hatfieldesque "Aubrey Circle Dance", he really makes his mark on a number of surprising departures from the Oho main drag. Check out the bee-yoo-tiful acoustic guitar showcases "Motion of Motion" and "Albumblatt" (both dating from 1976 and perfection for those Fahey and Bashophiles amongst us...) and the 16.45 mins of "Nazi Dog Jam"; a bluesy slab of heaviosity from the same year. Though it's surely a little too early timewise for that title to be a tip of the cap to Steven Leckie a.k.a. "Nazi Dog" of canuck punkers The Viletones...but then again...

(Steve Pescott)

Contact addresses:-
Oho Music, 1505 Tredegar Avenue, Catansville, MD 21228-5663, U.S.A. www.ohomusic.com for the Grok and The Dark Side.
Rockadrome Records, P.O. Box 460341, San Antonio, TX 78246-0341, U.S.A. www.rockadrome.com for "Okinawa".
Yodelin' Pig Records, 10435 Reisterstown Road, Building 3, Owings Mills, MD 21117, U.S.A. www.ohomusic.com for the "Food for Worms".
Airiaid Records, 1725 Belt Street, Baltimore. MD 21230, U.S.A. www.airaidrecords.com for "Doom".



LP (http://mie.limitedrun.com/)

Hot on the heels of their excellent “So As To Preserve The Mystery” album, the United Bible Studies collective return with their interpretations of traditional folk tunes, the collection recorded in various location in the countryside, including caves, moors in both England and Ireland.

    To open proceedings “Blacksands” takes melodies and atmospheres from the rest of the album and blends them into a delightful instrumental that beckons you in with a fall of piano notes that are joined by other instruments, the sounds mixing and receding each flowing into the next, the whole track shimmering with magical charm. Featuring the talents of David Colohan and Sharron Kraus, “Farewell Nancy” finds their voices blending beautifully, tin whistle and Mandocello adding instrumentation, the whole piece rich and rewarding, the love of the song shining through. One of the first pieces recorded for the collection “Sullivan's John” features voice and banjo giving it an old-time feel, whilst the use of a whole band gives “The Dalesman's Litany/The Burning Sea” a more modern coating, the sadness of the tune easily found in the arrangement with the second part taking the music into psychedelic/drone territory, the two styles working in harmony over the course of the album.

     Ending side one in gentle fashion “The Sweet Streams of Nancy” has a hypnotic droning quality created by the accordion and harmonium, the addition of sleepy piano adding a soft sweetness to a wonderful tune.

    With the recording time cut short by a rising tide, “The Recruited Collier” has the sounds of the sea running through, it heightening the atmosphere created by the accordion and vocals.. Previously recorded by The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree, “”Twa Corbies” is the tale of two birds discussing their next meal, the tune having a strange, fairy-tale drone as an opening section before the strangeness drifts away leaving a more traditional atmosphere to prevail.

    Originally recorded by Water Into Wine Band, “Waiting For Another day” is a beautiful ballad that aches with a tender sadness, this feeling shared with the equally lovely “Ten Thousand Miles”, the whole album rounded off by the acapella happiness of “Good Ale” a hymn to the wonders of beer and we all know that nothing says folk music as much as a pint of real ale.

   A joy from start to finish this album seems to connect with the very essence of what United Bible Studies are about and, as such, seems to be an essential purchase. (Simon Lewis)



DAVE THOMPSON - A SÉANCE AT SYD'S: An Anthology of Modern Acid-Folk-Haunt-Psych-Prog-Space-Radiophonic-Rock Etcetera Quotes (Mega Dodo publishing)

Beyond the decidedly ho-hum title lies a neatly packaged book plus two companion CD releases featuring oodles of Mega Dodo and Fruits de Mer label associates. Each chapter of the book poses an interesting, music-related question to which a sizeable and varied cast, including scene veterans Alison O’Donnell and Comus along with the likes of Chris Wade (Dodson and Fogg) and Rowan Amber Mill, share their responses while old school psychedelic warlord Nik Turner provides the introduction. In essence it’s a latter-day variation on Jonathan Green’s “Days In The Life” but while there is a distinct absence of anything too revelatory or salacious here the outcome is diverting enough.

The same can be said of the accompanying pair of discs on which seasoned stalwarts Sendelica and The Chemistry Set keep a steady hand on the tiller, the latter’s “Elapsed Memories” a reminder of their outstanding yet underrated song craft and nearly as delicious as The Luck of Eden Hall’s “Arthropoda Lepidorata” which opens disc 2. Over in the twilight zone the likes of The Familiars and Emily Jones usher in the witching hour while Midwich Youth Club corner the market in mellow and funny with their bleep and booster electro-mash-up “A Mind Made Up” and Sproatly Smith win the beauty contest with their out-with-the-fairies “Pixieled”.  Oh and a certain Steve Palmer gets to contribute to both book and CD (the latter in his Mooch guise). He’s a talented young chap, pop pickers, and could well be one to watch.

All told there’s enough light-psych and fanciful folksiness here to float an airship and which together with the book makes for a perfectly agreeable lazy Sunday afternoon (a doody-doody-dido) without the need for anything more mind-altering than a cuppa Rosie or glass or two of dessert wine. (Ian Fraser)




The latest in a series of varied albums put out by the ever-expanding Mega Dodo Records is "Summer Green And Autumn Brown" by Us And Them, which, as the album title suggests, is a pastoral, folk-inspired work evoking woods, forests and much more. After a delightful introduction of acoustic guitar the first full song 'We Are Sacred' develops into an acid-folk trip through beautifully recorded, played and sung music. The duo are Swedish, though the songs are sung in English, and all the songs have that heart of melody so often shown by Scandinavian bands, not least Deleted Waveform Gatherings, La Fleur Fatale, Barr and The Migrant, with this latter pair particularly good comparisons. 'Late Night Early Morning' is softly quiet, with perfectly judged synths and accompanying instruments, while 'State Of Mind' reminded me of the ethereal songs of Kelli Ali, in vibe and vocal style. 'Another View Of Us' opens with more 12-string acoustic magic, before another absorbing song wends its way through bucolic landscapes: "I have learned a trick or two to make you smile." Lovely song. 'Here Again' adds subtle vocal/reverb effects and a synth swish or two to the spectral mix, before a fuller chorus tugs the listener away; and again the mix of synths and subtle guitar is perfect. 'Precious Moments' has a faster tempo and multi-tracked vocals, while its melody, though original, somehow evokes folk standards, perhaps through its waltztime structure. 'Me And My Mission' end with vocals that are as near to "anthemic" as this laid back duo are going to get, while 'From The Inside, Looking Out' adds a drumkit and strings mellotron to the mix, providing the album's only jarring moment. Album closer 'Insight' adds flute mellotron and acoustic guitars that inevitably evoke the early Genesis sound, though it's another high quality song entirely of its own. There is a tradition of melodic, albeit often melancholy songs in Scandinavia, and this band follow that tradition in their own way. It's an enchanting work for lovers of the groups mentioned above. A couple of limited editions are being made available, so get one while you can.  (Steve Palmer)



(Theo Records)

Sometimes an album comes along that transfixes you through sheer brilliance of sound-world, vision, composition and instrumentation. "Vetvi" by Theodor Bastard - a Russian group of many multi-instrumentalist members - is one such album, which will certainly be in my top five best albums of this year. The music evokes wide open Asian plains, massed groups of chanting peoples, tribal drums, deep lakes and high mountains, and more, both sonically and visually in the imagination of the listener. Opening with the wonderfully doomy 'Umbraya Erze,' the tone is set: a kind of deep, musically diverse, multi-cultured psychedelic rock music founded on some traditional instruments, with rolling, passionate vocals laid over the top. The title track brings in more unusual instruments plus modern drum programming. That the vocals are in Russian doesn't seem to matter with music this good. 'Salameika' opens with the stunning voice of Yana Veva, who handles most of the singing, while drums and much percussion add to the drama, as does the santur, and, later, subtle synths behind the full band. 'Kukushka' again evokes vast Asian plains and high flying birds as its quirky rhythm progresses, while 'Aion' opens with a reeded instrument, or possibly a flute, as the santur and then the full band come in for another high-drama track. 'Niti' mixes high tech with more beautiful vocals - an album highlight - while 'Veter' features the traditional singing of Namgar Lhasaranova in a particularly gorgeous mix of ethnic and modern. This track reminded me of some of the work of Trail Records' bands Ole Lukkoye and Sky Cries Mary. 'Yaard' has a lovely flute part and more of the "war drums" (the band's description) that are such a central part of the sound. The album closes with a cut of doom-laden vibe and rattling percussion. Housed in a CD package laden with beautiful artwork by Elia Mervi and the band's prime singer, Yana Veva, this is an outstanding work. Any fan of diverse, superbly played and recorded modern music is going to love this. I certainly did.

"Vetvi" however is not the band's debut release. In 2012 they released "Oikoumene," which is similar in pan-cultural sound but which relies less on the drum kit, and so has a lighter feel. The quality of music, recording and production however is just as high as the new release. Opening with 'Takaya Mija,' a small army of wonderful percussion instruments is used, and then a haunting esraj, played by Ranadhir Ghosh: a hint of Natasha Atlas here, albeit only by association. 'Farias' reminded me of some of Transglobal Underground's work, especially in the vocals, this time performed alongside Fedor Svolotch, who is the band's prime member and founder. 'Gerda' and 'Benga' continue the sonic exploration before the track 'Sagrabat (Diumgo),' which features the vocals of band collaborator Julien Jacob. This is a spooky cut in a slightly different style, but it works superbly well on its own, and as a break in the whole work. Another Indian solo instrument, the sarod, here played by Rampur Rani, adds to the global vibe. The title track uses found sounds plus another huge collection of ethnic percussion to heighten the atmosphere, including the resonant daf. 'Tapachula' and 'Intifadah' are strong on traditional sounds and solos, especially the bawu, a kind of Chinese flute, while 'Clean Kron' is a high-tech, glitchy cut of synths, guitars and sundry other instruments. 'Anubis' closes the album proper with a full-band epic based around traditional instruments and another striking Yana Veva vocal. A Fun-Da-Mental remix by Aki Nawaz closes the disk, recalling those heady days in the 1990s when this genre of music was briefly commercially popular in Britain and elsewhere. Another superb album from a fantastic band, this time housed in luscious paintings by Boris Indrikov - highly recommended. (Steve Palmer)




As summer fades into a dull and foggy November it is good to relive those warm and balmy days by listening to this selection of 20, short, Psych-Pop tunes courtesy of Terrascope writer Steve Palmer, a man who releases albums in a bewildering array of styles.

    One of Steve's strengths, above and beyond his ear for a good melody, is his willingness to find and work with the musicians who best suit the songs, which, on this release, means vocals from Crystal Jacqueline, Jill Carr and Kev Ellis, all who add quality to the tunes they participate on.

   Opening with a gentle string refrain, “Painting” is suitably warm and summery, bells and percussion dancing with the strings creating a delightful ambience over which Crystal Jacqueline adds much sweetness, an accordian courtesy of Gareth Bowen completing the perfect opening tune. Of course, it is not all sweetness and light, at least not in the lyrical department, with several tunes including “Peter's Escape”, I Don't Know” and “The bad Trip Song” taking the songs into the shadows although the music generally remains soft-focused and gentle, their shortness one of their strengths as they flutter past like a flock of beautifully plumed birds on a summers morning.

   As the album floats along it is easy to get lost in its loveliness with the likes of  “Save Me” with its West-Coast vibe, “Rockpool” with its echoes of childhood, the stranger psych of “Lens Legs” and the final “The Soft Landscape” sounding particularly effective to these ears.

   Housed in a faux gold leaf cover with inserts, this is a wonderfully balanced collection of songs with the lyrics adding gravitas to the whimsical nature of the tunes. (Simon Lewis)

 As an aside, my lovely wife Cara and myself donned masks to help create videos for a couple of the tunes. You can find them here if you wish.


CDR copies are available directly from Steve Palmer upon request. They come in hand-printed, recycled card sleeves, with printed art inside. Cost is £6 + postage to your country. Email Steve at dekray@yahoo.com




Releasing music that is folksy, experimental and seemingly from the landscape, Wild Silence have been around since 2012 releasing a handful of quality albums including this latest quartet all of which showcase the label's particular sound and style the discs housed in beautiful packaging that suits the music contained within.

    Probably best known as a member of United Bible Studies, Richard Moult has collected together a few members of that collective to help him realise his visions on this album although the bulk of the instruments are played by Richard and it is undoubtedly a solo project. Opening with the brief but delicate “Prologue”, the album  contains a selection of modern folk tunes that explore the landscape, as well as the feelings these convey, the whole thing a gorgeous and softly swaying album that makes full use of the vocal talents of David Colohan, Alison O'Donnel and Amanda Feery, to name but three. Best listened to as a whole, the tunes seem to flow into each other, the changes as subtle as the move from one season to the next making it hard to pick out favourite moments so cohesive is the album's flow, all you have to do is relax and float downstream.

     Awash with field recordings, Gayle Brogan treads a more ethereal path under the name Pefkin, the mystical delights of “Liminal Rites” taking the listener into a dream state, the realm of shaman and seers. After the title track beckons us into this world, “These Blazing Stars” takes deeper, droning voice and melodica spinning magic under a hypnotic chime the enchantment continued on “One Held Hailstones” an eleven minute piece that is psychedelic, peeling back the layers with ease.

    For the final two tracks Gayle enlists the help of Electroscope collaborator John Cavanagh whose clarinet adds a new dimension, especially on the magnificent “Hallucigenia” a long and drifting drone that wraps itself around caressing your soul.

    Continuing the path chosen by the previous albums, Empty vessel music dive deep into the imagined, the landscape of dreams and reverie, with a hauntingly beautiful piano at the centre of the albums' wonders. Opening track “”The dead Birdman falls of his Tightrope”is as ethereal and melancholy as anything you have heard for many years, a wordless vocal drifting overhead as the piano rains gossamer thin notes around you. Using just Melodica and Piano, “Tending the Flock” has a majestic presence that forces the tune deep inside, the sounds blending together as if welded by God himself, whilst on “The Dead Birdman Catches  A Falling Star On His Tongue:” Clarinet and Glockenspiel create a different sound yet the same ambience creating another deeply emotional piece that tugs at the soul.

    Throughout the album the music has a personal quality, music to be heard alone, intense and hinting at a deeper meaning, this feeling lasting right until the dying echoes of “Last Supper”, a tune complimented by a large range of instrumentation including synths and bird samples, the piece having a droning centre that fills the room with beautiful sadness.

    To end this quartet of releases we turn to “Pres Du Coeur Sauvage” a collection of unsettling yet gorgeous songs from Delphine Dora. Using mainly voice and Piano, augmented by atmospheric sounds and textures the songs weave a magic that is both delicate and deeply emotional, the tunes draped with a layer of disquiet yet containing a calm centre, the balance between the two states creating a rich tension that gives the songs a vibrant presence. Over 11 songs the listener is lulled and hypnotised, melodies drifting by, strange sounds fluttering in and out of range creating half remembered images that lie just under the surface, the whole aching and writhing with possibilities just beyond your grasp.

   Before I received these albums I was unaware of the presence of Wild Silence, now I shall be eagerly seeking their releases and so should you. (Simon Lewis)



(LP/CD/DL from http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/ )

Recently I reviewed a quartet of album from Wild Silence, a label whose name seems to get to the essence of their releases sound, well following that path, Heavy Psych Sound deliver exactly what you expect, music that takes you deep into the mountains, rocky crags and ancient monoliths hiding you from mythical trolls and ancient tales of madness, music that is heavy, dense and often pours from the speakers engulfing the room in a thick fog of noise, just how we like it.

   To begin, the skull-crushing power of Throneless whose debut album treads the same murky waters as bands such as Yob, Sleep or Cathedral, the visceral power of the riffs threatening to overwhelm you as they crank their way through 4 songs in forty minutes, the volume never turned down as you fight your way through an avalanche of brutality. Highlight for me is the devastating riffery of “Cavedrones” which reminds me of Lair Of The Minotaur played at 16 as it grinds its way ever onwards, finally collapsing, only for “Thinning The Herd” to continue the destruction, another display of power that will rock your world. To end, “Reaching for the Dead” has a gentle opening, the kind often found on 80's thrash albums but you know this isn't going to last and soon you are once again plunged into the kind of blackness that Sabbath used to dream about. Play it loud and wash away your frustration in the valley of detuned noise.

    Pausing only to syringe our ears we move onto Ape Machine, who sound like one of those obscure early seventies heavy stoner bands that only a handful of people ever liked at the time only to be discovered by a future generation and hailed as seminal.

  With plenty of riffs, gnarly solos and and a massive dose of attitude the band get stuck in straight away as “Crushed From Within” takes its heavy roots and rides them to the stars before “Disband” plants your feet back on the ground being a slice of heavy boogie that hits all the right notes. With Guitar a-plenty “”Give What You get” reminds me of Buffalo, whilst A storming cover of  “Frankenstein”, here called “Ape'n'stein” proves the band are having a good time as they rip through the tune with style and shitloads of energy. Ending with the slow-burning bluesy groove of “Never My Way” this is an album that will blow the cobwebs away, just add beer and a Friday night.

     Hailing from Suffolk, Old Man Lizard walk the sludge/doom path, their music dark, cold and brutal yet with sudden flashes of melody that act as a contrast to the finality of the riffs. Over seven songs the mood is dense  and unrelenting with “Cold Winter Blues” leading you into the mist unsure of your chosen path, whilst “King Clone” just comes in and cleaves your heads from your body, done and dusted. With a strange almost hill-billy twang on the guitar “El Doctor” widens the soundscape as it crawls from the swamp ready to drag you into the waters, whilst the final tune “A Gruesome Mess” ensures that your synapses are totally shredded before scuttling back into the cellar whence it crawled.

    Finally we come to the curiously named My Home On trees a stoner band from Italy whose sound is filled with distorted guitar riffs and the vocals of Laura Mancini, the female vocals giving the band a different sound from most bands although the riffs are traditionally stoner, if there is such a thing. Highly enjoyable, the collection has some classic moments such as the heavy groove of “I Forgot Everything” or the sci-fi madness of “War Of The Worlds” complete with piano and vocal samples. Highlight for me though is the magnificent “Arrow” a song that just gets you moving heavy and coated in enough vitality to wake the dead, thois one needs turning way up.

    Having just listened to all four of these album I think I need to lie down and put something more ambient on, then again maybe I should just open another bottle and get stuck into them all over again, hell yeah. (Simon Lewis)



(Cassette from ZamZamRec)

A most welcome second release, then, from Thought Forms guitarist and all-round good guy Deej Dhariwal. The album title references both Mogwai’s twenty minute epic “My Father, My King” and to a favourite saying of Deej’s father which is “I am the sun, I am the lord of the land” while the recurring theme is one of environmental catastrophe and the slow realisation and remorse of humanity that follows. Happy days, then.

Now we like drone here at Terrascope Towers and this all fits the bill beautifully. Eastern tinged and with wordless vocals, “We Run” incorporates a percussive free jazz element on which Deej is aided and abetted by Forms’ co-conspirator Guy Metcalfe. It serves to conjure up an alternative image of those latter day Coltrane/Rachid Ali workouts on Impulse. Best here and, assuming it’s available on Soundcloud (a none too subtle hint you’d probably agree) a shoo-in for the next ‘Scope playlist, is the percolating “Chasing The Sun”, something of a masterpiece of tension and texture. Not to be sniffed at either are the eerie and foreboding “GatePrayer”, the prolonged and melancholically profound Poseidon adventure “Sea Wizard” and the cavernous minimalism of “And The Sunset”. All good, as is the artwork by the third member of the Thoughts’ triumvirate, Charlie Romijn.

It’s never going to trouble the dance floor but what do I care? What, I ask, has the dance floor ever done for me? Hell, just listen, levitate and love it. (Ian Fraser)




ToTS’ 2014’s re-imagination of accompaniment to gratuitous Civil War ‘shroom fest A Field In England seemed a perfectly logical progression for their tense and dramatic instrumentation following a succession of maturing studio albums. Indeed it would be very tempting to pigeon hole this latest masterful release as another wannabe soundtrack, but mark my words this is beyond cinematic. It’s another dark realm entirely.

“All My Venom” kicks off with some characteristic mariachi strains but, a few Morricone phrasings aside, this is disturbingly relentless and menacing, almost vicious fare complete with monstrously demonic noises which combine to form something that is both hideous and compelling. Ever wondered what “Fanfare For The Common Man” would sound like for the cyber age shot through with a hundred and eighty industrial beats to the minute? Meet “Animal Manservant”. Godflesh don’t do prog or techno, but if they did both, this is how it would probably sound.

The kling-klang of “Field Punishment” will delight if not Kraftwerk fans then those of some of their darker and heavier direct descendents. My goodness you could almost dance to this whereas “Have You Ever Held A Bird Of Prey?” is from the Gnod school of “up yours, we’ll do our own thing, thanks”. The first half sounds like a relentless and deathly stalker bringing you ever closer to your hellish destiny. It’s the slowest of burners and you think it’s never gonna arrive. Oh but it does. Don’t you dare relax as all of a sudden it’s upon you and cleaving open your head. Thrilling

The brief and perplexing “Phonogene” sounds like those mysterious old short wave radio signals from the Cold War era (rumours are they still broadcast them) before a most fitting finale, “Love Theme for 1984”, provides a patient, strangely beautiful and deeply captivating epitaph to a collection of minimalist magnificence and unrivalled intensity and inventiveness. Album of the year? Could be.

Nine out of ten. (Ian Fraser)




(CD from http://www.sireena.de/ )

Due to a total cock-up on my part this album should have been reviewed in the summer when it was released, in fact I thought it had been, but it seems that was just the voices in my head, which brings us nicely to this excellent collection of tunes from the master of Gothic, Psych, power-Pop songs, the lyrics weaving dark tales whilst the music illustrates these tales perfectly.

   With tongue firmly in cheek, “I'm the Result of An Experiment (Which Went Horribly Wrong)” is a fabulous beginning, the tale of plastic surgery gone mad with a great driving guitar riff that pushes the tune along with manic energy, that energy morphing into something slow and atmospheric as “Dali's Dream” creeps in, the young artist trapped in a nightmare of routine and the Northern Line.

     Fans of Roland's work will find a comfortable familiarity in this collection, the feel of the songs consistent with all his releases much like buying a new collection of short stories by your favourite author which, in many ways, this is, the lyrics as important as the music, each part worked on until they are in harmony with each other creating a deliciously dark and powerful whole. Take, for instance, the magnificent “Zanti Misfits” a creepy little garage tune that reminds me of Zappa in its strangeness, whilst the title track itself is a sleazy blues number with some great slide and plenty of attitude. Even the acoustic version found in the bonus section has attitude and completely different lyrics, great work.

    Stepping into post punk riffing, “Catatonic” is the tale of a man seemingly happy in his catatonic state and the fact he might terrify people when he pops back from the grave, the guitar taking centre with an angry but controlled performance. Making me laugh out loud “William Bonny's Trigger Finger” describes Billy The Kid's finger floating in a jar, a bizarre attraction for just a nickel, the humour maintained on “Born In The Sixties”, the Poppy West Coast tune referencing plenty of sixties icons, the tale of a man who never quite got his Hippy parents.

    Making sure you get your moneys worth the disc contains five bonus tracks, including the dark and heavy “Candyman” and another version of “Zanti Misfits” that might be better than the one on the actual album, which is definitely a bonus.

   Ploughing and individual and imaginitave furrow Paul Roland continues to make excellent music with this being another example of his craft, Light a candle and enjoy. (Simon Lewis)



(LP from http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/)

    Limited to 600 gold vinyl copies and available in early January, The Chemistry Set 'The Endless More And More' 'www.fruitsdemer.com', hot on the heels of five sell out 7" singles with the label, and last album 'This day Will Never Happen Again' here are 12 original songs of a distinctly psychedelic nature. Bursting out of the speakers with drums and trumpets to the fore, the opener 'The Splendour Of The Universe' announces itself with style, a jangle pop concoction complete with a soaring chorus, I am reminded of a 'forever changes' vibe, ending with backwards waspish guitars.
Great lysergic rushes of Keyboards and Mellotron colour the 2nd track.'The Fountains Of Neptune' along with a huge driving rhythm and superb lead guitar too. "International Rescue" follows with ringing 12 string detailing the  break up of a relationship and bringing to mind the "Super Furries"and a touch of "The Sir Douglas Quintet" particularly on the Farfisa, very catchy and concise.'Time To Breathe'' is taken at a more sedate pace with fine keyboards and a gentle psych flavour, its lovely and ends by spluttering out into static. Up we go again now with the garagey 'Come Kiss Me' a great poppy, rock song with a fine retro feel, sublime.

'Winter Sun' an acoustic number that's perfectly placed in the middle of the record, it's very natural and has an unhurried timeless feel to it, something which this record has in spades.
'Albert Hoffman' arrives with it's carnivalesque opening, some heavily phased fuzz guitar creates a fine platform for some enjoyable sixties toytown lyrics, all done in a very concise way, with not a sloppy or wasted note, this song details a substance created in 1943 by Mr Hoffman, used for recreation purposes by many armchair travellers along the way, it's peppered with wonky guitar and a 'Syd Barrett '/ 'Robyn Hitchcock' approach to the lyrics, it's tight as a drum and very clever.

Things ratchet up again for 'A Cure For The Inflicted Afflicted' a punchy rock song but delivered with a lightness of touch, this one has a great lead guitar break in the middle and it ends with some great amplified harmonica. 'The Canyon Of The Crescent Moon' a perfect distillation of senses reminiscent of a bucolic, psychedelic summer, with lyrics concerning sundials and the Crystal Palace, it does have a lovely feeling of high summer. 'Crawling Back To You' has a countrified vibe with HonkyTonk Piano and Dobro.

'Elapsed Memories'  Is a super song concerning the recall of memories, buried and always half remembered,with pages missing, of statues without faces, of trying to find each other through the ether of fogged memories.

The record ends on a high note with the Sitar and Tabla infused 'The Opening window' , a fantastic tune, imagine a sort of Indian 'Lewis Carroll' type thing with wonderful elastic bass, a superb Sitar motif repeating throughout and then something I wasn't expecting, the keyboard player starts playing some very cool pulses ( very reminiscent of the keys throughout H P lovecraft 2) giving an otherworldy feel to this bloody brilliant final song. This will sell out pretty fastI have no doubt, it's wonderful and timeless, best get your orders in quick, It is a stone cold classic.     

    Also from'www.fruitsdemer.com'  a split lathe cut single limited to 50 copies, available to some lucky club members on Christmas day. We have from the USA 'Ex Norwegian'(more confusion from fdemer) who come over all "glam-rock" with 'It's a game' a catchy sixties pop stomper that sounds like something you've known for years, in fact it was released sometimes in the early seventies and was played on the radio, it's song by the band 'String driven Thing' and was in fact a hit for 'The Bay City Rollers' with the refrain 'everywhere is nowhere and nowhere isn't there' it concerns the game of love , lipstick on the collar etc , its as catchy as a case of syphillus and within its brief 3 minutes has a lovely concise guitar solo.

Also on this split single is 'Permanent Clear light' from Finland with 'Cornville Skyline' sounding like a freshly unearthed sixties nugget lifted from some obscure comp, a song about summer love with two daughters, one of whom is intelligent, the other less so. It's a summery pop confection,  very upbeat - all fumblings on park-benches beneath marbled skies. This is the bands first single since 'Higher Than The Sun' an instant sell out from a few years ago, the band are on fine cheerful form, and are currently hard at play completing a second long player 'The Other Side Of life' due spring 2016.

(Andrew Young)