Archive for August, 2007

Dear Mr. Time

August 29, 2007

Grandfather, the 1970 sole outing from England’s Dear Mr. Time, is a concept album in which the finest elements of popsike and music hall – shades of The Move and “Paperback Writer” linger in the stately piano and distorted vocal treatment of “Out of Time” – are interspersed with an advanced degree of symphonic elements, as on the breathtaking “Prelude (To Your Country Needs You)”. Meanwhile, the strident “Make Your Peace” sounds like the doppelganger of “Fighting Cock” by Raw Material. Overall, a diverse yet cohesive set of spellbinding songs.
Dear Mr. Time



August 23, 2007

With their bristling 1970 debut, England’s Cochise served up a brand of country rock which could graciously court the country-hater. Think not of Creedence or the Allmans; imagine instead a gritty Free or Patto-style unit who sprinkle their dish with a tasty dash of twang, thereby spicing their forays into dissonant aggression (“Moment and the End”) and giving zest to their exercises in compound song structure (“Painted Lady”.)

Justine UK (1970)

August 21, 2007

From the unearthed recesses of English pop’s past comes this 1970 one-off by a mixed-gender hippie combo named Justine. And what do they sound like? Well, the sexy sighs of “Flying” make for the most erotic of acid folk numbers to have penetrated these ears, whilst the harmonies and arrangements betray a striking affinity for the departing stateside sunshine sound (think: Eternity’s Children or Free Design.)


August 15, 2007

Considering how poet/singer Pete Brown’s prior role in the world of rock had been confined to that of non-performing lyricist (namely for Cream), I’m amazed at how melodic and instrumentally complex his own musical endeavors – Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments and Pete Brown & Piblokto! – turned out to be. “Things May Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever” and “I Walk For Charity, Run For Money” foreshadow punk with their speed and buzzsaw aggression, yet balance the thunder with a degree of buildup, tension and release which would mostly be lacking from that later idiom. Other tracks vary between Anglo-centric folk and jazz rock styles, evocative of Traffic (with better songwriting) and Jack Bruce’s early solo albums (with denser arrangements.) Delivering on its vintage, the enormous riff of “Aeroplane Head Woman”, from Piblokto!‘s 1971 Thousands On A Raft LP, will submerge your aqualung as it blows out the smoke on the water!
Pete Brown & Piblokto!

Goliath UK

August 12, 2007

The eponymous 1970 one-off LP from England’s Goliath delivered jagged, propulsive blues (or is that ‘jump’ blues) rock with shards of brass and metal, played with a contrapuntal intensity which alternately empowers and submits to the tough and salacious belting of Linda Rothwell, perhaps the most sexually aggressive (and demanding) British female singer of her generation. I’d like to say that this album was ahead of its time, yet only one later band, Fusion Orchestra, seemed to have picked up the gauntlet laid down by this frantically intertwined unit.

The Alchemist

August 2, 2007

The first two albums by the English rustic pop quartet Home were mostly comprised of winsome little country-pop ditties in the vein of the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, with occasional forays into extended structures ala Byzantium and Help Yourself, such as “My Lady of the Birds” from their eponymous 1972 sophomore effort. The Alchemist (1973) was Home‘s most ambitious and artfully-embellished release, with their signature rootsy sound lent sway by rattling rhythmic contours set amidst a backdrop ranging from smoldering (“The Disaster”) to sparkling, as on the Hawaiian slides of “Time Passes By”.

A generous portion of The Alchemist can be heard at the link right below: