=  OCTOBER 2007 =

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Written by:  
Simon Lewis (Editor) All My Loving
Nigel Cross Pamela Wyn Shannon
Jeff Penczak Wooden Shjips
Phil McMullen Sendelica

Tony Dale

Basement Beat comp
  Who Needs Tomorrow comp
  Mix a Fix comp
  Roy Loney & The Longshots
  Robert Wyatt
  Christian Kiefer & Jefferson Pitcher
  Origami Arktika
  Electric Coffee House comp



(DVD on Voiceprint TPDVD101)

The atrocities of war have become commonplace images on our TV screens especially since the first Gulf War in 1991,when American stations like NBC brought the sights and sounds of Operation Desert Storm so viscerally into our living rooms.

   But back in 1968 when the Vietnam War was in escalation with the Tet Offensive that wasn’t the case and some of the images director Tony Palmer used in this documentary of burning Buddhist monks and Vietnamese children having their brains blown out by American soldiers were stomach-churningly shocking. ALL MY LOVING first broadcast back in 1969 was one of the first films to effectively marry rock’n’roll with contemporary newsreel footage of the time and to a suitably rambunctious psychedelic soundtrack, Palmer inter-cut interviews with many of rock’s new ambassadors like various Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burden, Pete Townshend and Frank Zappa who remained staunchly critical of American foreign policy right to the end of his life.

   Palmer made the film in 1968, one of the most incendiary years of recent history where rock was breaking away from pop and exploring new possibilities against a backdrop of the global anti-Vietnam War movement, the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Soviet tanks putting paid to the Prague Spring, and the worker/student strikes in Paris. It was groundbreaking, mind-blowing stuff. Supposedly the Beatles laid down the gauntlet to Palmer -something of an establishment square – to make a film that was cutting edge and truly reflected what was going on with the war baby generation.

  Incidentally Patrick Allen, the actor who provides the stentorian voice-over here would later become the face of ‘Barrett Homes’ and during the 80s Cold War would have been the last human voice you ever heard as the British government had hired him for a TV ad heralding imminent nuclear meltdown had the super powers finally clashed.

   When I first watched this on a Sunday evening in May 1969 it more than did its job and literally stomped all over my tiny teenage brain. Most of the talking heads subsequently passed on or proved to be nothing more than empty vessels but 40 years later this still packs a remarkable punch – no wonder it elicited the comment from Paul McCartney, ‘this is just great, absolutely what we meant’.  (Nigel Cross)




(CD www.girlhenge.com)


     Possessing a voice as sweet as a newly picked autumn apple and a beautiful finger-picking style to match, Pamela Wyn Shannon has created a faultless slice of folk magic that reveals new layers and textures with every listen.


    Augmented with delicate recorder and whispered strings, the songs have an aching presence that brings to mind the work of Nick Drake, fragile and sublime in their brilliance. Opening track “O Bittersweet, Dear Madeline” draws the listener in immediately, the wistful lyrics perfectly matched by the arrangements. Second Track “Tis Rambletide In Ambleside”, sees the strings float through the melody, gently wrapping the song in delicious harmony, weaving around the guitar and voice with total unity of purpose.


   Recorded in various locations in New England, including museums, barns, tool sheds, and a sheep farm, the album possesses a pastoral feel throughout, the production by Brian McTear (Vespers, Marissa Nadler), breathing life into the songs, bright and fresh as morning light.


    On the title track, twinkling glockenspiel adds light to the song, whilst on “Woolgathering” the soft cello of Michelle Kinney brings to mind the work of Robert Kirby. The more I listen to the album, the more I come to realise that it is this attention to detail that makes the album such a rewarding listen, the many layers of sound augmenting the simple songs with rare beauty, each song a flawless part of an impeccable whole. Such details include the understated cello on “Ca the Yowes”, or the recording of a spinning wheel on the aforementioned “Woolgathering”.


    As well as the music, the lyrics also offer a unifying theme, the turning of the seasons evoked wonderfully on such songs as “Septembers Way” or “Michaelmastide”. At the end of the day, however, it is the voice and guitar that stand centre stage, or maybe in the centre of the sacred grove, the other instruments dancing across the ground, whilst the words paint pictures in the sky, no more so than on the magical “Pipkin”, one of the finest folk songs you will ever have the privilege to hear.


    Although there is a early seventies UK folk feel to the whole album, this is particularly noticeable on “Vespertine Autumn”. Of course, this might just be lazy reviewing on my part, as songs this good are timeless in their appeal, belonging to no particular period, a trick also played by Sharron Kraus, whose work could also be used as a comparison.


    Final song “Fare-Thee-Forlorn” features droning strings and spoken word, and is a melancholy delight, sending shivers up the spine, a transcendent way to complete a truly vintage album that all Terrascope readers should own. (Simon Lewis)




(LP / CD from Holy Mountain, www.holymountain.com )


This debut LP/CD for Wooden Shjips, a San Franciscan quartet, is a stunner. I was half expecting either minimalist garage rawk experimentation or darkly subatomic VU riffs based on reviews I’d seen of their self-released 10” EP from last year (and a solitary single, on the Sick Thirst imprint), but what we have here is far more accomplished, and multi-layered without being overly “produced”. Theirs is a classic West Coast sound, perhaps more LA than San Franciscso, but filtered by a decade or more of modern  Japanese interpretations of acid rock. ‘We Ask You to Ride’ and the sublime ‘Blue Sky Bends’ for example are multi-looped, cyclical fuzz-rock jams sounding for all the world like a Doors number performed karaoke style by a Japanese band featuring an explosive guitarist with a Spacemen 3 fixation; Marble Sheep spring to mind immediately. ‘Shine Like Suns’ revolves like light through an oil wheel around a mesmerising Velvet Underground riff, and is for my money their crowning moment to date. ‘Losing Time’ and ‘Lucy’s Ride’ meanwhile sound decidedly European, with a festie echo to the vocals which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mandragora LP. Again though there’s some gorgeously spine-tingling acid-fuzz wah-wah guitar work woven in and out of the numbers courtesy of guitarist Erik 'Ripley' Johnson. The remainder of the band are I believe Omar Ahsanuddin on drums, Dusty Jermier on bass and Nash Whalen on the all-important organ, although the LP sleeve features little in the way of information about them.  Word has it there’s a bonus CD included with some versions too, although I confess there was nothing as interesting with the copy I bought [from the new Rough Trade shop in the east end of London]. Worth looking out for, anyway… (Phil McMullen)


Simon Lewis adds:


     It is a given that Psychedelia means different things to different people, but I am fairly convinced that Wooden Shjips could be used as a definition of the word to the average man in the street, filled, as it is, with shades of The Doors, Blue Cheer, Strawberry Alarmclock, and a host of other organ lead groups. This is not to say the band is derivative, but they sure wear their influences on their sleeves, especially on opening track “We Ask You To Ride”, a swirling groove of psych organ and rolling bass, awash with reverb voice and wonderfully fuzzed guitar that loads you with instant sunshine. The heavy guitar riff of “Losin’ Time”, will do more than blow the cobwebs from your mind, the band doing the garage psych thing with style, the heavily echoed vocals adding moodiness, the song breaking down briefly before the guitar scrapes the skin from your skull.


    Dusting down the Wah pedal, “Lucy’s Ride” has a lazy days feel in its stoned groove, the band locked together as they head off into the countryside, feeling mellow and ready to play. The relaxed feel continues on “Blue Sky Bends”, the trip in full effect as the band lose themselves amongst the clouds, the shimmering guitar work shining through, a splash of sunlight mirrored by the rest of the players.


    Last track is the sublime ten minutes of “Shine Like Suns”, a slowburning classic that fill your vision with swirling colours and sweet dreams. Best heard by candlelight, this is perfect tripping out music, think, Sundial or Spacemen Three, the music flowing through you, vibrating the very soul. Then after only 33 minutes it is all over, short, groovy and very sweet indeed. (Simon Lewis).




(CD from RAIG www.myspace.com/raigmusic)


    Hailing from Wales and released on a Russian label, Sendelica are a classic three-piece band, centred on the guitar prowess of Pete Bingham. Filled with electronic effects, opening track “Sunfazed” reveals itself to be a lazy slice of space rock grooving, the guitar flowing wonderfully above the rhythm section (Glenda Pescado-Bass, Paul Fields-Drums), creating a dream laden atmosphere that remains for the rest of the album. Merging beautifully with the opener “Spaceman Bubblegum#2” sees the band pick up the pace, strap themselves in and head off for inner space, the music drawing comparison with Sundial, or The Spacious Mind, the guitar doing it’s best to disintegrate you mind.


     Completely instrumental, it is a credit to the band that they manage to hold the listeners interest for the duration of the record, creating different moods and textures, whilst allowing the album to flow as if one long piece. Third track “It’s A Neu Thing”, is a good example of this inventiveness, the effects being applied to bass and drums, as well as the guitar, giving the song a very psychedelic feel, with the drums sounding particularly weird. Soon, however, the band push the song into overdrive, swooping and diving and sounding very much like early Hawkwind, as they fly through the universe, grinning with joy. Opening in a mellower state of mind “Siren The Second Coming”, is warm and cerebral, the band using its looseness as a strength, reminiscent of those early Bevis pieces, enjoyment evident in every note.


     Possibly my favourite track is the magnificent “Indrid Cold”, twelve minutes of guitar heaven, Pete Bingham laying the universe to waste as he romps across the fretboard, a solid and inspired rhythm section providing a perfect platform for the sonic wizardry that soars overhead. Here everything comes together, the song demonstrating everything that is good about the band, playful, spacey and able to rock out with the best of them.


     As we approach the end of the album, the band find the stillness at the heart of the universe, slowing things down on the elegant “Mr Floyd Walker”, awash with drifting ambience and light, before “Dawn Of The Dub Revisited” allows us to finally touch down, filled with bliss, smiling and enchanted. (Simon Lewis).




(Psychic Circle)


     The Nick Saloman-curated Psychic Circle compilation series reaches double digits with these “20 hard-edged stompers from the British beat era,” gathering together more previously uncomped (on CD) selections of “prime raw British beat” from its highpoint from 1964-66. The UK Bonds jump right in with ‘The Last Thing I Ever Do,’ boasting a catchy chorus and a memorable, rolling bass line. The Pirates were the backing band of legendary rocker, Johnny Kidd, although they went through numerous overhauls before reuniting in 1966 for the one-off ‘Can’t Understand.’ The Dee-Tees (Dynamic Trundlers!) were formed by a bunch of sailors on the HMS Eagle in 1964. They played in numerous ports around the world before disbanding when their commission ended in 1966. They recorded an EP in Singapore in 1965, from which the jumpin’, harmonica-driven, ‘Got Love If You Want It’ is lifted. I bet it kept the discothèque dance floors full back in the day!


     ‘Got Some Lovin’ For You Baby’ is a hard-driving, high-stepping scorcher with some tasty guitar licks and a punchy backbeat that would have been a welcome addition to the sets of pub rockers like Rockpile, Eddie & The Hot Rods, or Ducks Deluxe. Of several bands called The Rats that did NOT include Mick Ronson, the Lancashire bunch offer the rompin’, rappin, ‘Gimme That Wine,’ which fingerpops its way into your head like a shotgun wedding between Mojo Nixon and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers! Next up, Nick leaves the British Isles for a jaunt over to Scandinavia, where he uncovers Ljusdal (Sweden)’s excellent Panthers, whose 1965 ‘I’ll Be Pleased’ is a barnstormin’ shouter in the early Stones mold.


     Elsewhere, Glaswegian rockers, The Luvvers were Lulu’s backing band before she went solo, whereupon they released ‘Most Unlovely’ in 1966. With its sax backing and finger snapping melody lending a bib band aura to the track, it reminds me of something from Joe Jackson’s jumpin’ jive period. Their bassist/vocalist later joined Stone The Crows and played in Robin Trower’s band in the ‘70’s. He passed away five years ago. I also like the fine, jangly pop sound that The Zephyrs bring to ‘Wonder What I’m Gonna Do’ – a full year before Roger McGuinn and The Byrds made it their signature style and The Cheatin’ Hearts’ upbeat, toetapper, ‘The Bad Kind’ sounds like a beat version of the theme from ‘Batman,’ a popular US TV show in 1966, when this was released. I’m not sure the show ever aired in the UK, so it might just be a coincidence, but I challenge US listeners not to blurt out “Bat-man” when the Hearts sing the title of their song!


     Guy Darrell & Wind of Change’s wild rendition of Solomon Burke’s ‘Stupidity’ is a melting pot of styles, ranging from the snarly, punky vocals that presage Tom Verlaine and Television to the swirling organ backing that ? & The Mysterians would ride to success the following year with their 1966 garage classic, ’96 Tears.’ The Liverpool Five (who, Nick informs us, were not actually Liverpudlians!) deliver the album’s most garage-like track with ‘I Can Only Give You Everything,’ released a full year before Van Morrison and Them’s more well known version, although this sure sounds like Morrison and Them trying to rewrite the Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ to my ears!


     We also are treated to fuzz guitars and one of the most fractured guitar solos you’ll ever hear propelling the gasoline-voiced, fruit-and-veggie-hawker-turned-singer, Tommy Bruce’s ‘Over Suzanne’ and the set raps on a high note with The Mark Four’s rip-snorting take on ‘Slow Down’ that’ll have you forgetting the Beatles ever recorded it, especially once you hear its snappy rolling drum beat and guitarist Eddie Phillips rollicking guitar pyrotechnics! Bassist John Dalton left in 1965, the year after this version was released, and later played in The Kinks from 1969-76. The Mark Four later signed to Shel Talmy’s Planet Records and changed their name to The Creation and the rest, as they say, is history. Phillips famously invented the violin-bowed guitar technique later popularised by Jimmy Page and just as famously turned down an invitation to join The Who. Some even say that the guitar style he crafted during his stint with The Creation was a major influence on the mod movement, at times superceding the work of Mr. Townshend, a claim I will not dispute! So I strongly encourage anyone with a taste for British beat or mod/psych garage rockers to check out ‘Nothing Comes Easy,’ one of the best compilations so far from the reliable Mr. Saloman and Psychic Circle. (Jeff Penczak)




(Psychic Circle)


     Nick Saloman returns with another collection of 20 previously uncomped tracks, this time focusing on the American garage scene with a high percentage of high-quality tracks that have surprisingly previously escaped the compilers. The set starts off promisingly with the harmonica-driven snarl of Randy Johnson’s ‘Fly Superman Fly,’ one of only four singles released on Monkee, Davy Jones’ vanity label and later gracing the soundtrack of the biker flick, ‘Cycle Savages’! There’s an upbeat, freeform, Country Joe & The Fish vibe about the track that hits all my right buttons. Wisconsin’s Love Society turn in a credible cover of the garage standard, ‘Tobacco Road,’ with some nice organ fills, a funky middle eight with swirling vocals(!) and the requisite fuzzy guitar solos.


     Kinetic Energy’s ‘Margaret Ann’ is quite unlike almost everything else on this collection. For starters, the vocals are sung in a high harmony like The Lettermen-meet-The Beach Boys, the musical backing is as laid back and relaxing as floating in the pool on a raft on a hot summer day, and the lead instrument is a sitar. I know it shouldn’t work (aside from ‘Green Tambourine,’ how many “garage” tracks feature the sitar?), but it’s an extremely pleasant experience, even if it is one of the wimpiest “garage” tracks I’ve ever heard! Peck’s Bad Boys (from Da Bronx) rewrite ‘Route 66’ as a stompin’, Otis Redding-inflected, soul scorcher, ‘Cloud 76.’ Although it was released on Scepter, it could very easily have been a welcome member of the Stax/Volt family.


     Singing guitarist Charley Cazalet fronted New York’s Silver Byke between 1967-70. Their ‘Who Needs Tomorrow’ combines a jolly pop melody with some of Cazalet’s tasty blues guitar licks and a soaring, echoed chorus. Cazalet later played bass in The Left Banke and is featured on their 1978 LP, ‘Voices Calling.’ A few years ago, the then-58-year old guitar slinger released some magnificent archival tracks he recorded with several of his Left Banke cohorts in 1978-9 on the self-released ‘Rough Mix-NYC’ EP that is well worth tracking down. Next up is The Great Train Robbery, whose completists will have a hard time tracking down their numerous singles released under more than half a dozen different names, most famously as Ohio Express and Crazy Elephant. Bubblegum fanatics know them as the Kasenetz-Katz house band, Lt. Garcia’s Magic Music Box, but ‘Wasted’ is a wailing stomper with a rockabilly backbeat that sounds like Dave Edmunds covering Chuck Berry.


     If there was ever a sub genre called “folk-garage,” The Will-O-Bees’ ‘If You’re Ready’ would be one of its prime exponents. Some short, but well-timed guitar solos, an nasty organ break and a stompin’ backbeat highlight this Kingston Trio-in-the-garage winner. Girls in the garage are few and far between, despite several attempts to catalogue their existence through some fairly decent compilations, but Liza Edwards’ powerful vocals that propel Yankee Dollar’s ‘City Sidewalks’ are a welcome addition to the small canon, even if it, too, is a little closer to folk than garage – with some nice harmonies and a catchy melody, it’s a track that’ll appeal to fans of Spanky & Our Gang, Mamas & Papas, Peanut Butter Conspiracy and early Airplane. Edwards later enjoyed a bit of fame as Stevie Nicks’ and Linda Ronstadt’s backing vocalist! Garage’s mellower side continues with The Lords of T.O.N.K.’s ‘Miniver Cheevy,’ another sedate, folky track with a short finger-bleeding, speaker-shredding guitar solo to tenuously tie it in to the garage movement.


     The legendary, Kentucky-born Merrell Frankhauser’s foray into garagedelica with H.M.S. Bounty is well represented by the non-LP B-side, ‘I’m Flying Home,’ which features some jaw dropping solos from Merrell and a slightly bluesy aura. Elsewhere, there’s a nice Smokey Robinson vibe to the organ-driven ‘You Gotta Be Mine’ from Iowa’s 13th Precinct and Galveston’s prolific Countdown Five (half a dozen singles between 1965-69) rip-off the melody to ‘Along Comes Mary’ for the flip of their final 45, ‘Money Man,’ to give us an inkling of what Curt Boettcher’s projects might’ve sounded like if he spent more time in the garage. Some exciting, West Cost-style guitar licks add to the track’s immortality, although it strays from Saloman’s attempt to include previously “non-comped” tracks, having appeared on at least two earlier compilations, ‘A Journey To Tyme, Vol. 3’ (Phantom, 1985) and ‘Searching For Love (Action, 1999).


     The surprising influx of soul into the garage scene is again explored on The British Walkers’ ‘Shake,’ a heart pounding, happy foot jumper, with several snappy, fuzz-laden guitar solos and a party-like, Isley’s-meet-Otis atmosphere that’ll keep everybody on the dance floor. Roy Buchanan was the band’s original lead guitarist, although Ted Speleos is responsible for the white lightning here. He and fellow guitarist, John Hall later teamed up with Barbara Keith and ex-Remains’ drummer Norman Dow Smart II to form Kangaroo (who’s sole album was also reissued on Psychic Circle’s sister imprint, Fallout), before Hall left to find fame and fortune with Orleans. (Trainspotters and nitpickers should also note that ‘Shake’ is another track that has previously been unearthed, and can also be found on Volume 4 of Phantom’s ‘Journey To Tyme’ series.)


     More blues pour through The Moanin’ Glories’ (ouch!) ‘You Better Watch Out For That Girl,’ a nasty, snarly, sloppy mess that flops around somewhere in between early Stones and Chocolate Watch band. The DIY, kitchen sink aesthetic of the production and arrangement is pure garage heaven; and Cast of Thousand’s ‘Girl Do What You’re Gonna Do’ is another highlight, with a stomping, hard-driving melody riding along on the crest of a delirious, swirling organ backing. Ex-Backporch Majority leader Kinn Vassy drag’s Fred Neil’s ‘That’s The Bag I’m In’ out into his garage and then proceeds to drag it through the mud and the blood and the beer and a few quarts of motor oil, before stomping the crap out of the melody with some piano poundin’ and military-styled barking that’ll have the poor trembling mess ready to shape up or ship out. You’d never know it form this example, but Vassy was later a member of Kenny Rogers’ First Edition and guests on Zappa & The Mothers’ ‘Overnite Sensation’!


     The set ends with Kansas’ legendary cultniks, Blue Things and ‘La Do Da Da,’ the flip of their debut single. It’s pounding beat, vicious guitar soloing, nonsense lyrics, harmony vocals all explain why their lone album is one of the most cherished by garage enthusiasts the world over. Lead singer Val Stöecklein later released the ‘Grey Life’ solo album for Dot in 1968, before committing suicide 25 years later. You can hear us wax ecstatic over Fallout’s reissue here. So, after a slight misstep with the disappointing ‘White Lace and Strange,’ Saloman and Psychic Circle are back on track with one of their strongest releases yet. (Jeff Penczak)





     Nick Saloman AND Jamie Romer team up for 20 more toe-tapping, soulful foot movers form the latter half of the 60s as part of Psychic Circle’s follow up to their successful ‘Hide and Seek’ collection we dug back in May. Original Hollies bassist, Eric Haydock’s Rockhouse gets things started with the strutting title track that’s two frantic minutes of blazing horns and heart pounding drums behind Peter Ainsworth’s soulful, yearning vocals. The obscure Eddie’s Crowd power their way through a storming version of Randy Newman’s ‘Baby Don’t Look Down,’ while Liverpudlians, The Mojos deliver a fine, Mersey beat take on Northern soul with the harmony-filled ‘Until My Baby Comes Home Again,’ featuring a few nasty guitar breaks. And demonstrating that just about anyone with the desire and a modicum of talent could get signed to a label, former Scottish fridge salesman, Jim Pollack was signed by Ken Dodd, changed his name to Gidian and released three singles. The flip to his second, ‘Fight For Your Love’ finds him fronting an upbeat party band and shows him to be a competent screamer, although I expected him to bust a blood vessel several times before the coda!


     There’s a snappy, Booker T. & The M.G.’s backbeat to George Paul Jefferson’s ‘Out of Place,’ although I’m not so sure the female backing chorus of “La la la’s” works as well as expected. Still, the horns, organ and throbbing bassline will certainly fill the floors. They even toss in a few fuzzy solos for good measure! Winston G’s ‘Cloud 9’ (not the Temp’s song) combines a swaggering melody line with a groovy, Ramsey Lewis Trio jazzy piano backing, and Coventry’s Don Farden fronts a smashing band who deliver some exciting guitar solos on the stalking, creepy crawler, ‘Coming On Strong.” We also find that most versatile of instruments, the Hammond B dripping throughout many of these tracks, as key to the soul scene as it was in contemporaneous garage tracks. The instrument features prominently on David James’ ‘Nothing Left To Lose,’ which doesn’t sound too far removed from Tom Jones fronting Booker T. and his M.G.’s.


     You all know Billy J. Kramer & his Dakotas from their massive ‘Last Kiss” hit, but here he delivers an incredibly stomping, poppy take on Smokey Robinson’s ‘I’ll Be Doggone.’ I also dug the work of backing vocalist extraordinaire, Liza Strike (familiar to millions from her work on ‘Dark Side of The Moon’), who fronted The Soulmates in the mid-60’s and ‘When Love Is Gone’ is a fine example of her embryonic journey to stardom. It’s a hipswaying little number, with Liza sounding not unlike Leslie Gore. And dig that ‘Avengers’-like tom-tom rattling opening! Ansley Gordon’s ‘She Gives Me Good Loving’ is a punchy little garage/sould hybrid, featuring Gordon’s Eric Burden-like squealing over a wailing horn and Hammond backing.


     We also get Keith Field’s smooth, samba-styled cha-cha-cha on ‘Stop Thief,’ and South Africa’s Rockets spit great balls of fire through Joe Tex’ ‘Show Me,’ which features what Saloman calls “one of the most distorted fuzz bass sounds I’ve ever heard”! Another familiar name, Simon Dupree & The Big Sound (best known for their lite psych classic, ‘Kites’), deliver an uptempo, organ-driven fireball, ‘Reservations.’ Prog fans will of course recognise Dupree and his Big Sound as the work of the Shulman brothers, soon to be rechristened Gentle Giant. Finally, Philip Goodhand-Tait & The Stormsville Shakers could just about fit their name on the record label for ‘No Problem,’ but the plastic its glued to is full of James Brown and The Famous Flames-styled energy – a catchy little number that also features a pre-Crimson Mel Collins on sax. The Shakers would soon morph into cult psych progsters, Circus.


     So if you dug ‘Hide and Seek’ as much as we did, you’ll want to continue Saloman’s troll across the mid-60’s UK dance floors, but this may also be an even better introduction to the scene, and we definitely recommend it if you want to sample some upbeat soulful rock obscurities. (Jeff Penczak)




(Silber PO BOX 18062, RALEIGH, NC 27619 USA)


     Durham resident, Michael Walton is mwvm (you’re on your own figuring what the “vm” stands for) and ‘Rotations’ is his debut full length release of minimalist guitarscapes in the classic tradition of Remora, Aarktica, Windy & Carl and Stars of the Lid. The nebulous, floating opener, ‘Context. Where?’ immediately establishes a somewhat confusing, sensory deprivation tank atmosphere as the listener searches for terra firma, perhaps wondering: “Is that a keyboard…guitar…synth…perhaps a violin…? Walton’s work is all about harmonics…drones… you won’t find any “songs” here in the traditional verse/chorus/verse structure. In fact, the beauty of the music is that there is no structure to any of it, although I’m sure Walton may argue that it’s all carefully “constructed” in the Beefheartian sense. You most certainly will feel warmth enveloping you as Walton’s guitars create a sense of returning to the womb, with the listener perhaps subconsciously reliving the pre-birth period of floating in amniotic fluid.


     ‘Fireside’ continues the soothing, relaxing atmosphere. Imagine cuddling up beside it and letting its warmth overtake you, like anesthesia slowly dissolving the mind into a state of waking unconsciousness. But then there’s an ominous, industrial metallic sheen razorblading across ‘It’s Easy To Be Miserable” that suggests this track may not be the best track to listen to alone in the dark, coming down from the previous evening’s revelries! The lack of space between tracks also invites the listener to experience ‘Rotations’ as a single track, with each of the ten titled segments representing a slight mood swing… a variation on a central theme, whose meaning is open to the individual interpretation of each listener. If I may suggest several: a representation of the various stages of the psychedelic experience, a transitional passage through different levels of R.E.M. sleep, or perhaps a musical treatise on the fine line between the conscious and unconscious worlds. As such, the album can almost serve as a scientific experiment. I’d love to have a bunch of wires attached to me and be loaded down into one of those sensory deprivation tanks that William Hurt inhabited in ‘Altered States’ and have the album pumped in through headphones and then have the EEG/EKG patterns my body emits under the influence of ‘Rotations’ evaluated. That’s not to suggest by any means that you go home, drop a few roofies and spread out on the couch and let ‘Rotations’ do its thing. But if you have been suffering from bouts of insomnia, the soothing, ambient swashes of ‘Rotations’ ethereal guitar strains is guaranteed to lower your blood pressure a few notches.


     From the ebb and flow of the title track and the backward phasing at the beginning of ‘Oratory Clout’ to the Tangerine Dream-like soundtrack stylings of ‘Sleepy Crayfish,’ ‘Rotations’ does at times sound like a hearing test, but for contemplative navel-gazing, I’ve not heard a better soundtrack all year. Highly recommended to snorecore enthusiasts, aerobic cybernauts and fans of Eno’s ambient period. I could also attest firsthand, that it’ll take the sting and aggravation out of a long, gruelling trek to work. Just roll up the windows, crank this up, and enter a completely relaxed dimension that’s an instant cure for road rage. Just be sure to watch my rear end, not hers! (Jeff Penczak)




(Silber PO BOX 18062, RALEIGH, NC 27619 USA)


     Silber continue their fascinating Lycia reissue series with the album (originally recorded and released in the winter of 1996) that Alternative Press hailed as “one of the Top 10 Goth-related albums of all time.” The trio of bassist David Galas, groupie-turned-band member/vocalist, Tara Vanflower and leader Mike VanPortfleet (who personally remastered this reissue with an incredibly crisp, explosive atmosphere that completely envelops the listener in a wall of sound), had recently relocated form the arid deserts of Arizona to the frozen landscapes of northern Ohio, resulting in a more expansive, more sound-oriented (as opposed to song-oriented) album. This becomes immediately apparent on The Cure-like opener, ‘Frozen.’ Tara’s disembodied vocals emulate a lost soul, “frozen” in the wilderness, perhaps reaching out for the comfort of human contact and bodily warmth. Both VanPortfleet and Galas’ throbbing, stalking bass favorably recall the detached ennui of The Cure’s “suicide trilogy” (‘Faith,’ ‘Seventeen Seconds’ and ‘Pornography), with the latter perhaps being the closest sonic comparison. In fact, apart from the thermally descriptive aspect of the album’s title, it may be no accident that it is also the title of one of ‘Pornography’’s most jarring tracks.


     ‘Bare,’ as its title suggests, strips away some of Lycia’s more bombastic aspects for a more ethereal approach, settling comfortably between the grandeur of Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance. Gonging bells, forlorn, far off piano tinklings and Tara’s nursery rhymish “la la la’s” float across ‘Baltica,’ which has more of a darkwave, noirish, European vibe, a la Clan of Xymox, with a touch of Kate Bush’s more theatrically aloof whispers hovering in the background. ‘Colder’ is more cinematic and expansive, as the trio delve deeper in to the influence their arctic surroundings had upon their psyches and bodies, moving from 100+ degree temperatures to below-zero frost. The track’s swaying aura also occasionally reminded me of vintage Slowdive, particularly ‘Spanish Air.’ Bells and tambourines add a festive atmosphere to ‘Snowdrop,’ perhaps reflecting the band’s experience of their first snow-covered Christmas. Being a northeast coast US lad myself, I can’t imagine a Christmas, or at least a winter without a blanket of snow to frolic in, let alone spending it in the blistering desert sun, and this sense of wonder is beautifully captured by the track, which is fittingly one of the album’s more upbeat efforts. It expresses an almost childlike wonder and fascination with the snow-covered mountains, hills and backyards of their new neighborhood. The album’s main themes seem to be exploring the dichotomy of the desert heat vs. the cold Midwest winters, as well as the anxiety flushed with fascination of an entirely new physical environment which they have translated into their music.


     One final side note for fans who prefer, or whose schedule requires them to do most of their listening in their vehicles: kudos to Silber honcho Brian John Mitchell for making the extra effort of adding the CD information to the disk, which displays the track titles on CD players so equipped. An unfortunate aspect of the bleak artwork is that the track titles are almost completely invisible, which is very frustrating for reviewers and anal-retentive types like me who like to know the name of the song they’re listening to. So having it scroll across the CD head unit is a technological advance that most labels don’t take the time (or expense) to provide their customers. It may be a minor point, but it shows the dedication to his fans’ needs that Mitchell provides via his wonderfully eclectic label. So, we highly recommend this personally remastered edition to fans of Gothic, Darkwave, noirish, ambient soundscapists from 4AD-enizens, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and Clan of Xymox to fans of The Cure’s “suicide trilogy” period, as well as former Lycia labelmates at Projekt (Black Tape for A Blue Girl, Love Spirals Downward) and the more commercial end of the Goth scene like Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, Delerium, and Die Form. (Jeff Penczak)




(CAREER Career Records, 424 North Fifth Avenue, Bozeman, MT 59715-3418 USA )


     Flamin’ Groovies founder Roy Loney’s 30-year solo career continues with his third album fronting the Seattle supergroup, The Longshots, featuring most of Terrastock alum, Young Fresh Fellows (Jimmy Sangster, Tad Hutchison, Scott McCaughey, the latter also splitting time from his recent R.E.M. duties), along with label mate Joey Kline, front man of The Plaintiffs. Toss in a Windbreaker (Bobby Sutliff), another Plaintiff (Richard Mockler) and the considerable talents of Career co-honchos Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) and Ron Sanchez (from Terrastock pros, Donovan’s Brain) and you’ve got the makings of a hot time in the old town tonight! McCaughey’s thumping bass line pins opener, ‘Baby Du Jour’ to the back of your skull and there’s a high octane, glammy backbeat that leaves the sweet aftertaste of T. Rex tackling Chuck Berry’s ‘Little Queenie’ bouncing off the walls of your memory banks. Loney’s self-assured swagger of ‘Big Time Love’ is awash in echo and his hiccupy Elvis inflections as the boys chug along in the background with the big fat gothic rockabilly sound (“Gothabilly,” anyone?!) that reminds me of The Cramps covering Carl Perkins!


     Roy shows his shy, sensitive side on the plaintive love song, ‘The Great Divide,’ which stacks crooning backing vocals from Jimmy brother, Johnny and Scott Sutherland onto a familiar, Dylanesque melody. (I’ll leave the identification of said tune to all you ‘Name that Tune’ fans out there!) ‘Big Fat Nada’ chugs along like ghost riders galloping across the Pacific Northwest skyline and the 79 second blip of ‘Raw Deal’ is sure to please all you rockabilly purists in the audience.


     The bays slow things down for some hot smoke and a sassafras tea break on the Eastern-tinged, dreamy psychedelia of ‘Subterranean Waterfalls,’ although, as on a couple of other tracks like ‘Danger Waves’ and ‘Don’t Like Nothin’,’ I wish Loney’s vocals weren’t buried so far down in the mix as to render them almost unintelligible. The presence of not one, but TWO harpsichords(!) and Anna Kendall’s oboe give a hint that ‘Hamlet’s Brother, Happy’ might not live up to his name, and it is a bit of a tears in your beers weeper that adds a nice dimension and another layer to the album’s variety. But before we get all teary-eyed and start passing around the tissue boxes, the boys get all bar band sloppy and occasionally downright silly on the suds-soaked ‘Miss Val Dupree,’ featuring some tasty Vox organ (Micah Hulscher) and guitar (Jimmy Sangster) solos, before completely collapsing in the mud, and the blood, and the beer, like a sack of wet cement falling off a barstool in one of Seattle’s finest gin-soaked gin joints.


     The band wrap things up on a high note with the big boppin’, high steppin’ rockabilly of ‘Looking For The Body’ and ‘Hey Now,’ which seem birthed out of a lost weekend listening nonstop to their old Rockpile records. So if you’re up for a set of good time party music from a bunch of seasoned (if not occasionally besotted) old pros, pop into your favourite gin joint and pour a few long shots from the icy, thirst-quenching tumbler called ‘Shake It Or Leave It.’ (Jeff Penczak)




(CD from www.dominorecordco.com)


      Opening with a Canterburyesque chord crash, the latest album from Robert Wyatt is a bittersweet romp; filled with delicate, passionate songs all topped off with the unique and very beautiful voice of the man himself.


    According to Mr Wyatt the album is about “the unpredictable mischief of real life-it’s sort of chaotic our lives”, and I guess that sums it up, the lyrics touching on the reality of living with someone, the comedy and tragedy in our existence and the strange thing we do to survive.


    First highlight is the wonderful “Just As You Are” a love song from the realist school, mixing tender lyrics with some flowing melancholy trumpet, creating a Wyatt classic. On “A.W.O.L” the trumpet dances with a warm bassline, whilst the lyrical tension is matched by some rising chords and ticking percussion.


    Throughout the album the production is both crisp and warm, allowing the songs to display their emotions perfectly, reminding me of Thomas Dolby’s work in the eighties, the wonderful trumpet adding to that opinion.


    Split into three acts “Lost In Noise”, “The Here And Now”, and “Away With The Fairies”, act 2 opens with “A Beautiful Peace” Robert announcing the litter on the road, including a very flat rabbit, the song having the woozy charm of something by Kevin Ayers full of downbeat humour. On “Be Serious”, religion is gently teased before being put into perspective, the lilting jazz tune the perfect foil for the lyrics.


    As to be expected, the drumming and vocal delivery are faultless throughout, everything is precise yet gloriously loose and there is a real joy to the album, evidenced in such songs as “On The Town Square” and “Pastafari”.


    To sum out fans of Robert Wyatt will have no complaints about this consistently fine album, whilst those who are only familiar with his name or earlier work, may find this the perfect place to make his acquaintance properly. (Simon Lewis).




(CD on CAMERA OBSCURA, PO Box 5069 Burnley VIC 3121 Australia)


     Kiefer’s second concept album for Camera Obscura (you may remember the stark and mysterious ‘Czar Nicholas Is Dead’ that we reviewed last year) is a collaboration with Northern California’s like-minded sound sculptist/composer/video artist, Jeff Pitcher, late of indie rockers, Above The Orange Trees. ‘To All Dead Sailors’ is a love letter, a musical eulogy, if you will, to the brave men and women who spend their lives and, occasionally, deaths traversing the vast expanses of water that cover our planet. This collection of songs, instrumentals and sonic foghorns in the night opens with Kiefer’s ‘Ship Under Sand,’ a field recording at the edge of the ocean, with waves, like shipwrecked sailors, reaching out and desperately clawing their way onto the shore. And like those waves crashing on rocks, cymbals clash in the background of ‘The Captain’ (not the Leonard Cohen song), a story told from the point of view of the sailors who rely upon the ken of their newfound father figure to save them and bring them successfully home from their journeys.


     The soft folk of ‘Carpenters and Sailors’ is in sharp contrast with the callused hands of the carpenters who build the ships and the sailors who work them. Over a gently rolling banjo and acoustic guitar backing, not unlike the ebbing and flowing of the ocean waters, Kiefer and Pitcher offer up a dreamy folk tune that wouldn’t have been out of place on an old 70’s singer/songwriter album from the likes of Jackson Brown, Dan Fogelberg, or Seals & Crofts. This dichotomy of harsh/soft, rough/smooth, beautiful/functional is at the heart of Kiefer’s instrumental soundscape, ‘The Engineer’s Dream,’ which envelops the droning of the ship’s engine with a tinkling xylophone representing the neural sparks of the titular character’s REM sleep images.


     ‘Erindira and The Ocean,’ one of two songs the pair co-wrote is another yearning tale, as the sailors look homeward bound with thoughts of land and loved ones: “Keep watching for me/Keep listening until you sing:/I am going home’ the pair sing, as the music rises and our waterlogged seasick sailors’ chests swell with pride and anticipation. Kiefer’s banjo is the lone accompanist to his ‘Burial At Sea,’ a somber rumination on the last stop on a sailor’s tour of duty, arranged and performed in the fine, minimalist loner folk tradition of Matt Keating (particularly his ‘Tell It To Yourself’ debut) and Mark Kozelek and his Red House Painters.


     Kiefer has written that, “the ‘Sailors’ record has my favorite thing I've ever done on it: a little song called ‘Astrolabe.’ I don't know what it is about the song, but the big chorus swell at the end makes me tear up….  I guess there's a piece of my soul in there somewhere.” I found it to be a lovely little “whistle while your work” sea shanty that’ll have that boat rocking and swaying from side to side as it floats silently into the cold, dark, empty horizon. So you don’t have to be able to tie a sailor’s knot, sheepshank or eye splice to board this musical flying dutchman and enjoy this fine tribute to the Blighs, Smiths, and Ahabs of the deep and “all who have roamed the sea for centuries.” (Jeff Penczak)




(CD from www.silbermedia.com)


     Recorded on a small island overlooking the nearly mythical region of Trollebotn Norway, this album is filled with an icy beauty, taking traditional folksongs and then weaving magical sounds around them, in a sonically charged alchemy session, resulting in a monolithic frozen landscape of sound.


    Opening song “Anne Sit Heime”, is a creeping mist of stringed instruments and rumbling percussion, the haunting voice telling sad tales of relatives lost at sea and mountain giants, the tune slowly building in intensity over nine sublime minutes. Following on, the shorter “Fjellmannjenta”, has a more traditional folk flavour to it, although an underlying drone adds a wyrd edge to the song. Beginning with some wonderful rattling percussion and precise drumming, ”Fanteguten”, has a funereal bass that offers the perfect beat for the almost chanted vocals, reminding me of United Bible Studies in full flow. The whole song has a hypnotic feel, creeping across the shoreline and disappearing into the trees that surround the lake.


     With the gentle lap of water as its starting point, “Guro Heddelid” is a soft drone, an incantation to the pain and folly of love, the delicate and sparse accompaniment adding acres of atmosphere to a cold and beautiful piece of music.

    Concerning the last three days in the life of a mythical strongman, betrayed and beaten by his friends, “Sterke-nils Doyr” continues the oppressive melancholy that runs through the album, you can imagine the local people rejoicing on a sunny day, a light to change the stark grandeur of the scenery.


     On “Min Pipe”, (enjoy yourself now your grave is already dug), the band discover the perfect balance between tradition and wyrd, the song walking the line between the mythical and the Geographical, searching for a way to escape the earthly wheel and regain a state of grace.


    As much of this album as possible was recorded outside, giving the album an expansive ambience, the water never far away adding textures to the gentle sadness of “Som Lindi Baerer Lauv”, a traditional refrain that is used in many different songs. Finally “Haugebonden” closes the album with graceful majesty, a wonderful haunting song that slowly fades, leaving only the waves lapping at our souls.


    This is a collection of songs that demands to be listened to, filled with melancholy and a deep longing it is a deeply rewarding experience for those who take the time to hear its sombre heartbeat. (Simon Lewis)





     ‘The Electric Coffee House’ finds Psychic Circle head compiler (no pun intended), Nick Saloman donning his wrap around sunglasses and taking up residence at a corner table in any number of mid-60’s coffee houses sprinkled across America for this collection of 20 “bluesy, primitive folk rockers.” [Saloman has also extended the US borders to include a Canadian and Mexican track, so perhaps ‘Gems from North America’ would be more accurate!] The eclectic set opens with the Byrdsian jangle pop of Jacksonville, Florida’s The Tiffany System (‘Wayward One’), featuring future Allman Brothers’ drummer, Butch Trucks. Finders Keepers is a smooth, coed harmony pop band and their one-off 1967 single, ‘Raggedy Ann’ captures that radio-friendly ear-candy sound popularised by Mamas & the Papas and Spanky & Our Gang. Rumour also has it that they once backed Monkees drummer Mickey Dolenz!


     Rick Jarrard was a house producer at RCA (Jefferson Airplane, Jose Feliciano, Nilsson) who also composed the soundtrack to Russ Myers’ soft-core classic, ‘Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’ His interpretation of Van Dyke Parks’ ‘High Coin’ is a spunky little garage rocker, highly reminiscent of Sonny Bono’s thwarted stabs at psychedelia on his ‘Inner View’ LP. Clefs of Lavender Hill’s ‘Stop! Get A Ticket’ is a garage classic you’re all familiar with from the Nuggets box set, but Saloman includes the equally tasty flip side, a stomping little charmer with excellent guitar soloing. (Fans and completists will find this, along with the Clefs’ entire recorded output – four singles originally released in 1966-67 on Date – on the obscure 1983 LP compilation, ‘Everywhere Interferences’ on the Chainsaw Sound label.) Not to be confused with Buzzy Linhart’s experimental, drone/raga band, Seventh Sons, L.A.’s The Sound of The Seventh Son were the house band at The Stratford on the Sunset Strip and featured future West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and Three Dog Night keyboardist, Jimmy Greenspoon and ‘I’ll Be On My Way,’ despite a horrible lead vocal, rides a ‘Needles & Pins’ riff and a punchy Turtles-covering-Dylan arrangement into garage rock history.


     Jeremiah’s ‘Goin’ Lovin’ With You’ matches a bouncy keyboard riff and tambourine-riddled chorus to an effeminate lead vocal that sounds like Frankie Valli on helium for a catchy slice of garage bubblegum. Mexico’s Iguanas recorded ‘This Is What I Was Made For’ phonetically, as they didn’t speak a word of English (!), but the soaring, Righteous Brothers-styled harmonies on this heavy, wall-of-sound, Spectorish arrangement (courtesy legendary composers/producers/arrangers, Jeff Barry and P.F. Sloan) disguised their accents enough that this lovely pop winner should have been a big hit when released on Dunhill back in 1965. (Completists can also find it on Big Beat’s 1988 LP compilation, ‘Penny Arcade, Dunhill Folk Rock, Vol. 2, alongside contemporary obscurities by The Grass Roots, Mamas & Papas, Barry McGuire, and other Dunhill stablemates.) Saloman gave California’s Yankee Dollar a previous unearthing via their debut single, ‘City Sidewalks’ on his ‘Who Needs Tomorrow’ compilation that I also reviewed this month. (Curiously, I even hinted that their sound was more “folk than garage” in my review!) Here, he returns to their small catalogue for the flip side of their third and final 45, 1969’s ‘Reflections Of A Shattered Mind.’ It again features the striking vocals of Liza Edwards, who we previously informed you went on to fame and fortune backing Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt. Hold on for the insane, backward masked finale that’s completely inappropriate and incongruous with the rest of the track, but somehow in the spirit of the “anything goes” 60s, it somehow works!


     I’m sure the Starbuck doing the harmony-laden, psychedelic headswirler, ‘Let Your Hair Hang Long’ is not the same group that brought us the inane AM radio ditty, ‘Afternoon Delight,’ but fans of the Airplane and Peanut Conspiracy will dig this. ‘You’ll Never Know What’s In My Heart’ from The Hi-Five is another dreamy, harmony-drippin’ winner, a la Mamas & Papas, although like Nick, you, too may also hear a touch of old folkies, We Five in there. The name Terry Jacks is on the tip of everyone’s tongue as both the most popular interpreter of Rod McKuen’s English translation of Jacques Brel’s ‘Seasons In The Sun’ (even our dear friend Tom Rapp took a stab at it back on his final Pearls Before Swine LP, ‘City of Gold’), and the other half of The Poppy Family (with then-wife, Susan), who scored a number one hit back in 1970 with the Juno Award-winning, ‘Which Way You Going, Billy?’ But before all that, he began his career as the singer and main songwriter for The Chessmen and ‘Running Wild’ is another delicious slice of bubblegum pop.


     The Stream of Consciousness is actually the California band, Butterscotch, who were renamed for their contributions to the soundtrack, ‘Hells Angels ’69,’ one of which, ‘Till You’re Through’ is an upbeat, hard driving toetapper that’s quite reminiscent of some of the later Mike Nesmith-penned Monkees tunes. I also dug Marion, Indiana’s Keith Murphy and The Daze’s ‘Slightly Reminiscent of Her,’ a wonderful pop psych gem that, to my ear, is slightly reminiscent of…Buffalo Springfield, as well as the somewhat baroque stylings of The Scandal’s ‘There’s Reasons Why,’ whose splendid coed harmonies warrant Saloman’s suggestion that they ‘sound rather like the Mamas & Papas or Spanky & Our Gang.” The album ends on another high note with the Beatlesque pop of Greenwood, Mississippi’s prolific The Gants and their 1967 stomper, ‘I Wonder,’ which to my ear gets a lot of mileage out of Lennon’s ‘In My Life.’ (Many collectors already have this track on the Nuggets box set, but it still fits in well on this folk/garage themed compilation.) So, all told, this is another exciting collection of obscure rarities with a high success ratio – one of the better entries in the Psychic Circle series. (Jeff Penczak)




(CD on EM Records)

    One of the perverse joys of the music industry in the early part of the 21st Century is the proliferation of oddball labels devoted to fields of music so specialized that their fan-bases represent not so much a niche, as a molecular-level crack in the culture. Such is the work being done by Japanese label EM records, and their series of releases devoted to what could be simply described as progressive surf music. We're not talking twanging guitars and tribal drumming here; we're talking a species of rock that, in inimitable Japanese fashion, the label describes as "acid-deep-psyche-progressive-rock-folk-surf from early 1970s!"  And who could put it fairer, really.


    What we have is a first-time reissue anywhere for Tully's rare second album, composed as soundtrack material for the classic Australian surf movie filmed by Paul Witzig in 1970, starring Wayne Lynce, Nat Young and Ted Spencer. Filmed in Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Oahu and Kauai, the film is deeply immersed in the stoned, beatific surf culture of the time - a time when you could purchase and light up a joint on Kuta Beach without facing life imprisonment or execution. Tully created a perfectly pitched accompaniment to that blessed vibe and that other world, blending elements including organ, flute, clarinet, piano, gong, guitar and hushed temple vocals into a sunblind sonata to the unique and ultimately doomed scene documented by the film.  As Geoff Watson in his review of the film in the surfing tabloid Tracks (issue #8) commented, "Paul Witzig takes us into his child's world in his newest film. It is a world of puppy dogs and slow motion pony rides, of fish eye gnomes and laughing faces. The grown-ups are friendly and very kind and every day is a holiday."


    The Tully that recorded 'Sea of Joy' for 1972 release (the title incidentally taken from the Blind Faith song) was basically Tully II, a second variant of the band, formed from some of the Tully members who recorded the band's top 10 charting progressive rock debut, as well as members of Extradition, creators of the legendary 'Hush' LP. Specifically, Richard Lockwood and Michael Carlos came from the original Tully and Colin Campbell and Shayna Carlin from Extradition. One gets the impression that Lockwood, fresh from conversion to the teachings of Meher Baba, set the spiritual direction of the music recorded for 'Sea of Joy', which was serene, stately and ethereal – very much at odds with the progressive rock and pop of most surf movie soundtracks of the time. It's a sound that has more in common with the Extradition LP, and if not for brand recognition, could well have come out under the banner of that outfit instead. 


    One can imagine audiences of the time being puzzled by the mostly understated folk-fragility of Tully's soundtrack work here. The title track and main film theme is the heaviest piece on the album, a darkly-textured instrumental with Lockwood's organ and Carlos's piano to the fore. This newly mastered version gives the sound a deal more clout, and rolls along like a perfect series of point breaks. (Owners of the vinyl will probably not miss the thin sound of that pressing after hearing this.) The carnival sounds of 'Pseudo-Tragic Dramatic' lead into the moonlit magnificence of 'Follow Me' which dishes out some seriously head spinning aural damage using acoustic and raga-electric guitars, aquarium effects springs and electric clarinet. But heaviness is not really where these heads were at, and things calm down to a light summer swell on folk workouts like the exquisite 'Trinidad' and higher key reflections of 'I Feel the Sun' (which also appears elsewhere in the small but priceless Tully/Extradition canon) and 'Brother Sun'  'I Feel the Sun' is emblematic – sublimely instrumented with wind chimes, bamboo flutes, gong and gamelan. It could have come from no other time and no other place. Carlin's unmistakeable vocals elevate the hippie good cheer of 'Thank You' to another plane, as they do on the wordless 'Softly, Softly', and in duet on 'Brother Sun'. Centrepiece of album is the magnificent 'Syndrone', on which the band's Eastern influences are given full reign in a swirling vortex of tampoura, sitar and violin.


    The EM Records packaging of 'Sea of Joy' is uniquely Japanese, with no effort spared in the realisation of the whole -  miniature gatefold sleeve, cute obi, informative and well illustrated booklet and great disc art all rounding out an outstanding reissue. (Tony Dale)