R.I.P Doug Meech
This time it's personal. In preparation for the new disc, I had to
dust off my vinyl LP (That stands for long-player, kids) of 1982's
Here Are The Chesterfield Kings. I could really geek out over
garage rockers in the 80's with page boy haircuts slinging Vox guitars
and sporting Beatle boots. But it makes me feel old thinking
about bands from my generation fixated on groups like The Seeds,
Syndicate Of Sound and The Downliner Sect - music that
us X'ers had no business knowing about. Then I consider the best way
to describe this whole phenomenon to a generation XYY'er-who has no
business knowing about The Miracle Workers, Tell Tale Hearts,
or Plasticland. So I won't presume to offer any more education
than I just have; you can do your own research. The Chesterfield
Kings sure did.
Ignoring the incessant tambourine, Psychedelic Sunrise is
a masterpiece. And by that, I mean that if I didn't have stacks of
music to go through, it wouldn't leave my player for six months or
so. Few albums in my lifetime have done that to me, email me if you'd
like the list. From the first click of the woodblocks and guitar jangle
on the deceptively showdown-tinged "Sunrise," something
special starts. The high quality of the production instantly melts
away my staunch view that garage requires lo-fi. I confess I uttered
an appreciative swear just before Greg Prevost came in all
Jumping Jack Flash. Even in this mid-tempo number, Mike Boise's
drum patter creates its own surround sound, coming at you from all
angles. The upbeat mood of the opener sinks under the blue water of
rollicking sea shanty "Rise And Fall," which careens dangerously
like a crippled ship at the mercy of the waves.
"Streaks And Flashes" successfully pairs Byrds'
guitars from Paul Morabito and Ramones' vocals, with
some sweet Hammond rounding it out. And just when your spirits are
up again, "Elevator Ride" takes you on an uneasy ride.
There's a Summer-Of-Love party going on in the penthouse, but the
basement's all creepsville. It almost sounds like they're feeding
the vocals through a Leslie oscillating amplifier (the vocoder of
the day) for that "Hurdy Gurdy" touch. Some boogie marks
the sleazy strutting of "Ups And Downs" while the gorgeous
chamber strings and harmonies of "Inside Looking Out"
make it the ideal addition to any Hollies slab. (Not The
Bloody Hollies - the one with Graham Nash). The guitar
plucking is nearly lifted from "Carrie Ann."
A very cool "Spanish Sun" is closely related in mood, dynamics
and instrumentation to The Stones' "Paint It Black"
and "Outtasite!" grabs that dirty riff The Standells
stole from Them who nicked it off Nashville Teens and
injects it with train-whistle harmonica. "Stayed Too Long"
and "Gone" are several Stones styles rolled together, but
I'm starting to see a pattern with the titles here, and there may
be some hidden message or a contest of some sort. Probably if you
solve the riddle it gives you a map to Trent Reznor's place.
See, because after "Yesterday's Sorrow" (which has a killer
sneaky guitar line) we've reached "Dawn." And it all started
with "Sunrise" you see. "Dawn" is a thematic departure
of a Cramps nature, professing, "Levitation/ escalation/
medication/ no foundation /break on through to the other side,"
and concludes with, "I can't wait to die."
Little Steven Van Zandt put this out on his rightly named
record label, which is now 3 for 3 with me after The Woggles
and Maggots. He probably plays on it also somewhere. It's an
incredible album whose appeal is limited to folks that like music.
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