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Mooch

1967 ½

Review by Gary Hill

Welcome to a CD of contradictions. This latest release from Stephen Palmer’s group Mooch is a trip back to the summer of love. As such it does a great job of capturing the sounds of that era. That is one of the problems, though. Much of the appeal of that music was enhanced by the chemical enhancements of the time. Now that most of the world has moved past those sort of experiences, the music tends to drag a bit. Another paradox here is the CD case itself. On the one hand, it’s cool – calling to mind the old style cassette boxes with its oversized, black plastic box style. The newspaper clipping sleeve is brilliant, too. The thing is, I’d love a real listing of the songs on the disc. So, the long and short of this is – Palmer and Mooch have produced a new disc of vintage psychedelia that’s very cool. It tends to suffer from some of the short-fallings of the era, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Ice Cream Song
As this one begins I could swear it’s the B-Side of Spinal Tap’s “(Listen to the) Flower People.”  This has a catchy, trippy, hippie sort of motif.  About half way through the drugs seem to kick in as the group wander off into a spacey sort of jam that is one part 1960’s psychedelia, one part progressive rock and one part space rock. They move back to the bouncy, song proper after a time to take it to the close.
Truth Fairy
Backwards tracking and weird effects lead this off. As they bring it into the song proper it’s very much in an early Pink Floyd sort of styling, but the female vocals lend an air of some 1960’s pop music. The weird bit of psychedelia in the middle is still rather in keeping with the Pink Floyd mentioned earlier, but I also hear some Hawkwind in there.
Sylvester the Protester
While not differing too much from the musical themes of the previous piece, this has a bit more stripped down approach. That said they also include some more fully progressive rock oriented sounds here and there. We get a cool accompanied organ solo on this one.
Wouldn't It Be Good
With a lyrical theme a bit like John Lennon’s “Imagine,” this has that early Floyd texture, but with other elements, including quite a bit of sitar, added to the mix.
In Time
This seems to combine a crunchy Hawkwind texture with the musical themes we’ve heard to this point. While I like this song, and it’s a well-needed change of pace, it doesn’t fit with the sonic theme of the disc all that well. Still, it’s pretty cool, if a bit raw. We get a major Hawklike guitar solo on this one, too.

Haight-Ashbury
The first half of this is a poetry reading over the top of sound effects and crowd noises. The second half is the same thing, minus the poetry.
Early Mornings
This is a trippy sort of psychedelic ballad that reminds me of the most spacey Jefferson Airplane music.

English Wisdom
Here we get a bouncy, trippy sort of balladic sort of journey. This is very much in the early Floyd sort of style.
Diamond Cutter
This is another slab of the same type of music that has dominated the disc. I like it, but this is starting to get rather monolithic.
Lament For Guy Fawkes
While not differing greatly from the other stuff we’ve heard, this is more organ oriented and rather like a funeral dirge – with a hippie sort of twist, of course. You can definitely still hear the Barrett era Floyd elements on this tune. It does drag a bit.
The Tea Song
More hippie music makes up this track. It’s still got that early Floyd thing going for it, but by this point the whole thing is wearing a bit thin.
 
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