Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Fast Camels - Deadrooms And Butterfly Dreams

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Come for a ride with The Fast Camels' as they re-visit psych's golden era, and tell us some cheeky tales on the way.

Plenty here on The Fast Camel's second long-player to keep a retronaut happy. Sonically it's a potted trip round '60s art-pop landmark sounds. The west coast of the US is represented by some fringed jacket chime, along with some sunset-strip garage-punk snarl. Elsewhere there's a distinctly more British flavour, with songs that favour a more feakbeat feel, or even a sparser acid-folk sound. Album opener Bruisy Bedlock has all these moments and more condensed into one song, and comes across like one of the Who's mini operas, right down to the seedy characters and storylines.

Most bands would close an album with such an ambitious opus but The Fast Camels set their stall out from the start. It works, whetting the appetite for whatever musical treats they also have in store. There's also a nod to later British psych artists such as The Coral and Teardrop Explodes on Ken's Sad Vice, which comes complete with Farfisa stabs and could well be the best tune Julian Cope never wrote.

This record proves one thing - that you really can say anything you want in a song so long as the pill is softened by good enough music. There are songs about masturbation and other sexual peccadilloes that because the music has a sacharrine sweetness it'll no doubt sidestep any radio censorship. It's this laddish Britpop swagger that marks that despite the retro nods squarely places the album in the 21st century. That said, all the familiar '60s tricks and textures are here, from Keith Moon fills to Beatle-esque harmonies and cello with Moog moodiness. Call it neo-psych, or new-retro, a homage to a time when real men wrote concept albums.

It's been seven years since The Fast Camels' debut album The Magic Optician was released. The intervening years have seen the band lose momentum due to a revolving door of line-up changes. Fair play to them for not losing sight of their goals however. Their latest record proves their worth and sits nicely alongside the classic '60s albums that have clearly influenced them. If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Glasgow this Friday night you can see the band live at their album launch gig, details on the flyer below.

Clickhere for The Fast Camels' website.

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