Posts Tagged ‘60s psych’

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The Hidden Masters – Of This And Other Worlds review

By Stefano on June 19th, 2013

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In case it has escaped your attention there is a bit of psych revival going on at the moment with thousands of bands from all across their world aping their 60s heroes in creating trippy, yet hook-filled soundscapes.

A lot of those bands take the easy route and splice a dreamy melody to a driving beat before drenching it all in howling feedback. Not The Hidden Masters though. For Scotland’s finest Psych band plunder just about every late 60s genre to produce a very imaginative and ambitious sound that really doesn’t have much else in common with any other bands at the moment.

They seem to have swallowed the Brit Psych rule book whole and lesson one in said book is that each tune should be chocka with so many twists and turns that the listener really doesn’t have a clue what to expect next. To aficionados this means mini pop symphonies like the Pretty Things finest moment Defecting Grey or even Dantalion’s Chariot’s Madman Running Through The Fields, who featured a pre-Police Andy Summers on a bewitching guitar solo. In many ways almost half of the tracks on this the band’s debut sound like they are attempting to create psych versions of Bohemian Rhapsody.

As well as Of This And Other Worlds being ambitious it is also brilliant too. The trio know how to take their influences – think Da Capo era love as well as Chocolate Soup Brit psych – whack them in the aural blender and come up with something that sounds both familiar and unique – surely the holy grail for intelligent pop music in 2013.

They set their stall out on the opener She Broke The Clock Of the Long Now which sounds to me like a whole Rubble compilation condensed into four and a half action-packed minutes. Into The Night Sky and Perfume which come straight after highlight their Love influence the most. Imagine if Arthur Lee Lee had come from Lanarkshire rather than LA.

There is then great tune after tune all stuffed with fascinating melodic twists and turns, unusual instrumental excursions, intense period detail that only the true psych anorak would be aware of and more. Sometimes it is almost too much.

And then the band unveil their two ace cards Last Days of The Sun and Like Candy. Last Days is magical. It sounds like the missing link between Wimple Winch and west coast US psych. It lasts six amazing minutes and contains more musical ideas in that time than Coldplay have had a in a decade.

If anything Like Candy is even better. A huge harmony drenched pop song that bizarrely half way through blossoms into a Gospel type sing along before the melody gives way to a brilliant 70s style guitar solo.

As I said at the beginning there are lot of psych bands at the moment. But no on else sounds like The Hidden Masters. They are utterly unique and your life would be massively enriched by owning their album.

There’s a couple of tracks here.



music

The Shadow Kabinet – Nostalgia For The Future review

By Stefano on April 22nd, 2013

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If you have never heard The Shadow Kabinet’s epic album Smiling Worlds Apart I suggest you do it pronto. Especially if you love The Beatles. For with tracks like Tabla Motown (a quirky sitar driven instrumental) Office Life (Lovely Rita style pop) and the title (think Harrison’s droney psych), multi-instrumentalist Steve Somerset, for he is The Shadow Kabinet created a Sgt Pepper in miniature. And very good it is too – Spotify link below.

Now four years on and Somerset is back with the third SK album Nostalgia For The Future. Having made his Fabs’ inspired pop masterpiece Somerset has fast forwarded a decade or so with Nostalgia and many of the tracks sound like they have their roots in the 70s as opposed to the 60s vibe of his earlier albums.

Sure there’s a smidgeon onf psych, especially in the album’s opener – the title track – and its Lennon-esque finale Let It Go, but in between the music’s inspiration hovers somewhere between 73-76.

So you have Dust Descends Into Light – a droney slice of Wish You Were Here era Floyd complete with Gilmour-esque guitar and  Ladder To The Moon, whose jazzy interludes and odd instrumentation recall Peter Frampton. The album’s opening single Angelville even has a whiff of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games about it.

In some respects then Nostalgia doesn’t connect quite as quickly as its predecessor, but give it time. It really gets under your skin and stays there.

Somerset’s songwriting has blossomed too. There are some great off the wall lyrics, such as Have We Got Max On Board which imagines how a world war was temporarily postponed so the world’s inhabitants wouldn’t miss the final of the X-Factor. Or the story of a girl who falls out of her window in Camden in the intriguing Ladder To the Moon.

While the lyrics are often inspired and the arrangements ambitious it is the melodies that carry this excellent album. The title track may be Somerset’s best ever though Honey Glow Afternoon – a gorgeous slice of folk pop – runs it very close.

If you have ever loved Pugwash, XTC, The Orgone Box or any number of McCartney influenced US power poppers then you’ll adore this.

It is available for download here.

 




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