With its pun title based on the Syd Barrett Pink Floyd album, the new Acid Mothers album seems to be one of their most scorching psychedelic yet, but in a very traditional way. The opening track “Chinese Flying Saucer” has Led Zepplin’s “A Whole Lotta Love” stamped all over it, from the opening riff to the faux Robert Plant vocals to the bizarre middle instrumental lead guitar work out. In a strange way it reminded me of a lot of bands who used to play at the Alice in Wonderland club in the Eighties and certainly would not have seemed out of place within their DJ set list. (Hmmmm, just what London could do with is a great psychedelic club again, are you out there Christian?) Bonham-esque military drum fills happen over Kawabata’s steady chunky guitar playing. The production sounds lost in the early ’70s and the track sounds better because of it. A good firm, solid and surprising opener.“Chakra 24” is an acoustic guitar and sitar interlude in a very ’67 feel. The vocals on this sound like a strained blues take on Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band. You can almost visualise a Haphash album cover design and the smell of patchouli oil pervading the air while Tibetan bells ring and someone reads the I Ching just like Barrett did on “Chapter 24.””Back Door Man of Ghost Rails Inn” starts with more acoustic guitars and bass and drums playing in Indian raga style to set off that mystical East feel. When the drone vocals and the lightly played electric kicks in you are already being transported to the side of Mount Kailash where in a cave a young sadhu sits and meditates. The vocals begin to turn all Jim Morrison bluesey but still retain a certain amount of mysticism about them, the feel of clouds gathering around the peaks and a gentle rain begins to fall.
“Shine on You Crazy Dynamite” begins with Syd-style guitar scrapings over the usual AMT space synths and an organ fugue. Here we are straight into Floyd Piper At The Gates Of Dawn territory. When the bass starts to play a steady note and the organ begins to swirl we are in “Interstellar Overdrive” mode. The only thing to distract from this is the vocals/voice that intones over the top of it all. Kawabata plays gliss guitar in true Barrett form. This would sound wonderful played live at a small venue with a proper late sixties liquid light show as the whole sound is quite convincingly ’67 psychedelia. And if you don’t touch the brown acid it could probably transport you back to the UFO Club during the summer of Sgt Pepper. The cosmic middle section is very spacey and rather than a pummelling lead guitar that would normally kick in by these points, the Mothers stay true to subtle echoed vistas of the early Floyd mixed with Electronic Meditation-era Tangerine Dream.The final track on the album is “Electric Death Mantra.” Again, we start off making our way back to the ’67 psychedelic sounds. A Jerry Garcia-style guitar motif plays over Nick Mason-style rolling drums; here again the production sounds very sixties with the drums not having a loud gated crack about them. Vocals spill out over the top and sound quite subdued within the mix of the song. The track moves along at a steady rambling pace with slow peaks before dropping down again. The piece has more of a West Coast blues vibe than the previous tracks but like Floyd’s “Set the Controls,” it begins to build a momentum within the drums and the raga style guitar noodlings get more frantic. Then blissful lead guitar kicks in around the 12 minute mark and you take off on a rocket ride to the stars.
This is one of AMT’s finest excursions into pure ’67-style psychedelia with the feel and atmosphere of albums and performances of that period, a real mini-triumph for the band and certainly a different sound excursion than their last few releases. Now all they need is a UFO Club to perform this in entirety for the acid drenched throngs. Far out man…….