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singles/eps - nov 2012


 

The Chemistry Set – Time To Breathe/Come Kiss Me Vibrate And Smile/Hallucinations (Fruits de Mer)

Three very fine, shiny, new, shimmering, sugar cubes of vintage lysergic pop from psychedelic archivists and veterans of the brief, neo-psychedelic boom of the late 1980’s, The Chemistry set. A band that once counted both the legendary John Peel and Factory Records boss, Tony Wilson amongst their ardent admirers, and whose early tracks I remember gracing flexi disks (!) affixed to the covers of dimly recalled fanzines, like ‘Freakbeat’, in the days when I was collecting issues of ‘Ptolemaic Terrascope’, wearing paisley shirts, listening to The Bevis Frond and dancing on a Friday night in a club called ‘The Chocolate Factory’ down on Call Lane in Leeds.

Released as a limited edition 7" in 2 colour vinyl with a gatefold sleeve, these two originals and an absolutely faultless jewel of a cover of Tomorrow’s “Hallucinations”, should, if there is any order in the chaos of the cosmos, be sold out by the time you read this review.

I’d find it hard to pick a favourite between all three of them – but if I was tickled into submission with an ostrich feather, I suppose I’d settle for ‘Come Kiss Me Vibrate And Smile’ and only then because the video features Ken Kesey’s Magic Bus to ‘Further’ being cranked up for one last ride. Listen to that whirling farfisa and fuzz-wah guitar and marvel!

Bill Howe


 

Dead Can Dance – Opium (Play It Again Sam)

Available as a free download from their website, this track is a gorgeous and exquisitely crafted piece of melancholic, neo-classical baroque taken from ‘Anastasis’, the recently released album being their first since ‘Spiritchaser’ in 1996, although the duo, Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, have been around for a long time, releasing their first album after signing to 4AD way back in 1984 and subsequently providing part of the epic soundtrack to many of our lives. Even if you are not immediately familiar with the band, you will have heard their music in the background of countless advertisements, and documentaries, or from Lisa Gerrard’s solo work on movies such as ‘Gladiator’.

Dead Can Dance’s songs tend to alternate between either Gerrard or Perry on vocals, and ‘Opium’ features Brendan, sounding, as ever, uncannily like Scott Walker. Never a singles band, this track is really only a taste of what to expect on their current album, and serves as an invitation to explore their extensive and quite marvellous back catalogue.

Bill Howe