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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Patrick Campbell-Lyons

The 13 Dalis

Review by Gary Hill

Patrick Campbell-Lyons was a big part of the London psychedelic scene with his band Nirvana. This is his new solo release. It showcases a lot of that psychedelic sound, but with a lot of other elements on display, too. The main complaint here is that a lot of the music has a samey atmosphere, with tempos and volume levels that are too similar. There are some songs that bring variety, but they are placed in the wrong positions to really save the album from dragging at points. One of those tracks is listed in the booklet in a different slot from where it actually sits. If it were in the position listed, the set would work much better. All in all, though, taking each song independently there is really only one piece that falls a little short.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Prayer Before a Kiss

This builds gently with piano and percussion creating the early moments. Vocals come in after a time and the song grows in a balladic motif from there. In some ways the vocals remind me of some of the later Johnny Cash music. There are, in fact, some hints of country in the music coming from the other instruments that are added to the mix. It turns towards psychedelia and progressive rock around the two minute mark for a bridge, but that gives way to a reprise of the more balladic section. That psychedelic section comes back again later, but the actual closing motif has a lot more of those country stylings.

Falling
The vocals on this are more spoken, the music resembles Mazzy Star a bit, but with a more psychedelic approach. I can, again, make out some similarities to later Johnny Cash. This arrangement is fuller and there is a string section and other bits added to fill it out. It’s still basically a balladic piece, though. I don’t like this one as much as the opener, but it’s still good. There is a tasty rock and roll guitar solo on the number. For me, the female singers take more from the track than they add to it.
Murderland
Although this is also mellow, it has more of a rock and roll guitar texture than the previous cuts. There is a bluesy sort of groove to it and the early vocals again make me think of Johnny Cash. As it grows upward, though, I’m reminded more of a cross between The Animals and The Beatles. This is a killer rocking tune and the guitar does a great job of soloing throughout. In fact, there is soloing going on at the same time as the vocals. I’ve always loved that kind of lack of compartmentalization in songwriting, and it’s hard to find these days. This is one of the real highlights of the set. In fact, this song by itself would nearly be worth the price of admission here.
Unforgiven
A slow moving cut, there’s a lot of country on this, but also good chunks of Beatles-like sounds, jazz, blues and folk. It’s a tasty one that’s a nice change of pace.
Live and Let Live
This is a cover of an Arthur Lee penned Love tune. It’s got a ton of pure psychedelia built into it, but also hints of Roy Orbisson.
Address Book
An acoustic based balladic number, this really calls to mind Roy Orbisson quite a bit. I’m not overly crazy about this. I’d say that if there’s a loser here, this is it.
Reach
Folk and country merge with psychedelia on this bouncy little piece. It’s fun and a step up from the previous one. It feels like something Ringo Starr might do.
Galway to Graceland
There is a symphonic burst of sound to open this. It gives way to a slow moving mellow number that feels like The Beatles merged with Roy Orbisson. It’s good, but the formula is beginning to wear a bit thin by this point. There are some country-styled guitar parts wandering around in this arrangement, but also some symphonic strings.
Sad Song
While the track listing shows that track nine is “Sunset City,” the lyrics seem to indicate that it’s actually “Sad Song,” which is shown as the tenth track. Another slow moving piece that has many of the same influences as the rest of the disc, this one has a bit more of a playful nature. The tempo, though, is too close to the rest of the music and the understated arrangement is also too similar. That means that, while this psychedelic cut is one of the best on the disc, by the time you reach this point, it just feels like more of the same. The formula is very worn and tired. It’s a shame because this really is a great song. It doesn’t get to stand out because of the monolithic nature of the set.
Nothing Changes
While the formula isn’t changed here, somehow this ballad manages to shine quite a bit. That’s because of the strength of the melodies and catchy hook. This is another that calls to mind Ringo Starr. While this is a strong cut, it seems to go on forever. Of course, the samey nature of the set contributes to that perception.
Sunset City
The track listed as the ninth one is actually presented in the eleventh slot. This one actually changes things up a bit. The tempo is a little faster and there is more of a rocking approach to it. It calls to mind George Harrison’s solo works quite a bit. There are also hints of The Hollies on this. Overall, it’s a great piece of modern psychedelic rock. This is a much needed piece of variety. Frankly, it would have served the album better in that regard had it actually fallen in that ninth slot. As it is, it’s a few songs too late to properly break things up.
Flowers for Friday
Blend George Harrison and early Eric Clapton solo material with some more purely psychedelic music. Now you have a pretty good idea of what this piece is like. It rocks out harder than pretty much anything else on the set. It’s one of the highlights and another much needed piece of variety. That makes it even more of a shame that “Sunset City” doesn’t occupy the space that the liner notes say it does. These to pieces in those proper slots would really do a lot to prevent that sense of monotony from setting in on the listener.
All I Do Is For You
Somehow the arrangement (or perhaps it’s just the mix) on this feels a bit awkward. Still, it’s a cool piece of psychedelia that is another piece of variety. It’s a cool tune, even if it’s a little hard to grab onto at first listening. There are some very cool bits of psychedelic drama later in the piece and I love the whispered female vocals (although, they seem a little too high in the mix).
 
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