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Various Arists – Allies and Clansmen: The Next Descendant

Monty Maggot

The second compilation of artists from the Monty Maggot label is another eclectic mix of music. Put together again by Lee Potts it’s wonderful that the [post=allies-and-clansmen text=”first release”] was such a hit that it warranted a part two (and maybe a part three is in the pipeline). The love and time and energy put into these releases and the quality of the overall product means that you are getting recordings from this label to treasure. Anyway, let’s climb aboard the stairway to the stars and see what’s twinkling out there in the cosmos.

First up is “Trick Me” by Ria, a soaring psych rock revival opener with vocals that cross between Inky Bloaters, Danielle Dax and Kate Bush, its ending drifting perfectly into shoegaze territory, a cracking way to start. Electric Cake Salad’s “1408” starts with a drum machine and moves into techno keyboards before echoed guitar kicks in a full Cult-style rocker riff with passionate vocals and some great wah wah. “Masquerade” by Anubis and Mudda starts off in an Ozrics meet Eat Static vein with rolling drum machine and bass pads clicking over until a powerful female vocal takes over proceedings and techno vibes hit in as the main keyboard riff kicks in for a very “Firestarter” feel. Omenopus’s “Brick by Stone” is a full-ahead psych metal rocker with Bridget Wishart’s breathless vocals over power guitars; the middle eight hits into a pastoral keyboard passage that relives the tension of the verses. Acoustic guitar drifts beautifully through ancient fields for Chumley Warner Bros’ “On the Street” – again Bridget Wishart’s vocals are tremendous, all wistful and emotional and perfect against the almost Incredible String Band-sounding guitars; more please for the next album, Chumleys. “More Light” by Osiris The Rebirth is a classic space rocker with swirling keyboards and steady riff that I could well imagine listening to in a summer festival field at sunset; great lead synth and space vocal as well!

Heavy drums and guitar hit in Bangtheory’s “Down again” which is a NIN-style industrial rocker with some great echoed lead guitar. “Pretty” by Night Flyer has an easy laid back jazz feel that adds a nice contrast to the previous track, its gentle female vocal drifting over David Torn-style guitar playing. “Gosuta” by Oriel Chambers reminds me of those festival punk bands from years back in its feel, its female vocals climbing over some tight rhythms and guitars, wonderful. “Zube” by Dihedral is all bubbling synths over a solid bass drum beat that gives it an ambient feel not too dissimilar at points to Lifeforms by the Future Sound of London with its array of sound, and I would certainly like to hear more of these guys. Next is The Higher Craft’s “Philosophy” – I may well be a bit biased here as I am somewhat a fan of the band and this beautiful ethereal psychedelic track takes you on a voyage down the rabbit hole into a place where the mushrooms grow tall into a azure sky and is a great starter to explore their music. The Timelords‘ (I’m assuming not the KLF spin off) “Rough Diamond” is wonderful Hawkwind-style space rocker with sonic synths and a great riff and some suitable psychedelic vocals, and it sounds like they would be great to see live. Wonderful gliss guitar opens “Iceflow” by Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart, the keyboards play a melancholy melody as guitars creak to give the sound of ice cracking, a drum tumbles through the piece that gives it a feel of early Sylvian until the main guitar begins and ups the momentum.

1912’s “Brick by Brick” starts with a Jethro Tull-sounding opening before the chorus comes in and the melody soars. By the time the lead synth happens you’ve already been transported to a shady glade but one on a planet far away overlooking the universe. “One For Lok” by Nik Turner & Karl E. H. Seigfried is a jazz piece with rumbling double bass and Nik’s sax taking over the central melody, its electronic handclap beat adding another dimension to the piece. Nigel Potter’s “Space Lane Baby” is a highway to the stars rocker that conjures up the spirit of British underground artists of the early ’70s, and sets your engines revving to ride home or maybe even further out there.

So there you have it – another top notch compilation of artists all out there doing something interesting, so get this lovely free CD and then go and investigate them further – who knows what delights you may discover on route to wonderland. Golly, is that the time? Looks like its teatime…..Mushroom teatime of course………

-Gary Parsons-

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