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(40:39, ‘Eden Hall’)
TRACK LIST: 1. High Heeled Flippers 5:12 2. Bangalore 3:05 3. Ten Meters Over the Ground 4:29 4. Summertime Girl 3:28 5. Amoreena Had Enough Yesterday 3:43 6. Green Faery 3:17 7. Wasting the Days of Youth 3:54 8. Goodnight Anne Berlin 2:54 9. A Carney's Delirium 4:25 10. This Is Strange 3:38 11. Alligators Eat Gumdrops 2:34 LINEUP: Gregory Curvey – vocals; guitars, bass, sitar; piano; drums Mark Lofgren – vocals; bass; synthesizer Carlos Mendoza – drums Jim Licka – Mellotron With: Mars Williams – saxophone
Prolusion. The US band THE LUCK OF EDEN HALL has been around in one shape or another for just about 25 years, albeit taking a few breaks here and there. But from 2006 and onwards they have released a steady stream of albums, and "Alligators Eat Gumdrops" is the most recent of these and was self released by the band in 2012.
Analysis. This US band, lead by Gregory Curvey, is amongst those bands that have toiled away for years without getting too much recognition. There are many artists of that kind around that due to a great variety of reasons have stayed beneath the radar whilst producing material of solid quality. This band did get a slight lift when the UK label Fruits de Mer Records started using some of their material on its productions however, and while fame and fortune may not beckon due to that at least they are somewhat more recognized in Europe at this point. What we're dealing with here is a band with a firm foundation in psychedelic rock, with a minor key of progressive thrown in for good measure. Relatively lo-fi in execution, with stronger resemblances to the bands of yesteryear in sound and production than to contemporary artists per se. Solid and steady rhythms are something of a backbone throughout here, although with quite a few exceptions with drums in particular taking more of a backseat. Like the brilliant simplicity of opening piece High Heeled Flippers, showcasing just how effective echoing vocals, a lonely piano and cosmic sounding Mellotron vibes can be combined in different variations. And, I might add, with something of a Beatlesesque sound to it. This latter aspect a recurring feature, those fond of The Fab Four at their most psychedelic should find this disc to be of general interest I'd imagine. While the opening piece is a gentle and elegant affair, harder edged excursions with pumping bass, steady rhythms and psych-drenched instrumental motifs are just as much a part of the game here than the lighter toned and ethereal constructions. Bangalore, another brilliant little piece of music, adds a nifty sitar to the proceedings, and title track Alligators Eat Gumdrops is another item that features a more energetic take on psychedelic rock. But whether the composition is a low key one, an energetic romp or an atmospheric laced excursion, the key instrument is arguably the Mellotron. Cosmic vibes, majestic strings and gentler psych-drenched effects are all featured from this classic instrument as well as a few other varieties of brief tape samples used in creative and psychedelic oriented manners. The guitars add their own details too obviously, from light toned echoing guitar licks to darker toned, distorted riffs, for the most part limited to an expression safely residing within the palette of that instrument as it was in the late 60's and early 70's admittedly. This is a vintage oriented band in sound and style after all, and presumably the aforementioned nods in the directions of The Beatles are far from accidental.
Conclusion. Vintage oriented psychedelic rock with a firm orientation back to the late 60's and early 70's is what The Luck of Eden Hall provides on their latest studio effort "Alligators Eat Gumdrops". Not an album for those who seek out bands trying to challenge norms and conventions, but a charming acquaintance those with an interest in psychedelic rock from yesteryear should find satisfying. Especially if occasional details reminding of later day Beatles are seen as a positive detail.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 16, 2013
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