(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Do you remember The Summer of Love? Of course you do. Even if you weren’t even alive yet for this period in time, you’ve heard stories of hippies, free love, flower power and “turning on, tuning in and dropping out”. If time has faded your memory slightly, our good friend Dr. Silbury recently set the external force oscillator of the quantum jukebox to the historical year of 1967˝ and generated some tasty sonic tidbits from an alternate era. On the last excursion, the good doctor provided us of a multitude of destinations for sonic gratification. For this presentation he concentrates on a single point in the psychedelic continuum.
Ok, some of you are probably thinking, “What’s Mr. Ffroyd on this time? Has he been at the airplane glue again?” Well, the answer to that second question is no. The trip I’m on is one solely catalyzed by the music of Mooch, a project fronted by Stephen Palmer, a.k.a. Dr. Silbury. Last year Mooch released the incredible double disc Dr. Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band which featured loads of guest musicians from the space rock community and was a cosmic masterpiece. On this new disc, there is a single focus of psychedelic music inspired by the sounds of the Summer of Love.
While the cast isn’t as large on this production, there are some folks making a return appearance. Chris Gill (Star Lighter) does the vocals for most every song on the disc. Chris has a voice that is custom fit for the psychedelic pop presented here. Eric Schlagzeug (Mr. Sopht) provides drums on all tracks. Cyndee Lee Rule (Sorceress Sadie) returns with her Viper violin on one track. Also Don Falcone (Dr. Panacea) supplies soundscapes for one standout track.
As you may have already figured out, all of the music here is done in a retro psychedelic pop style right out of the late 60s. While not as meticulous as say Brian Jonestown Massacre (who goes as far as not using any instruments, amplifiers or recording gear that isn’t from the era), the results here are quite convincing. There’s not much distorted guitar or spacey synths but there is lots of great organ sounds and plenty of trippy vocal effects. What I found most amazing about this album is how familiar it all sounds especially tracks like “The Ice Cream Song”, “Wouldn’t It Be Good” and “English Wisdom”. After only one play, I was singing along almost like I had known the album for years. The songs are very contagious at first listen and when inspected closer reveal many complex layers. There is one piece that is a departure from the pop psych stuff. “Haight-Ashbury” has more of a sonic collage feel with contributions from Don Falcone and Aunty Clockwise (Karen Anderson). There’s also a speaking part from Alan Sitar Brown.
While this is quite different than most everything on Mooch’s previous album, it does show how versatile Stephen Palmer and company can be. This is definitely not space rock but fans of that style should have no trouble accepting this one. Fans of early Pink Floyd, Blossom Toes, The Beatles and just about any 60s psychedelic pop should check this one out. Looking forward to wherever Dr. Silbury stops on the quantum timeline next.
For more information and to order this disc (oh yea, it also comes in a deluxe edition with a bonus DVD) go to the AmbientLive page.