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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Space Apaches

Smokin' Voyages

Review by Gary Hill

This is a crazy ride. It has a lot of psychedelia built into it, but it doesn’t start there. At different times I hear everything from Uriah Heep to Captain Beyond, Country Joe and the Fish, Santana and more. This mix of sounds works remarkably well to create a strong disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Entry

This is just a short (32 seconds) bit of sound effects to open the album.

Sunrise
A hot rocker, this is part psychedelia, part space rock and all cool. I love the guitar solo on this. The keyboard laden bit that takes it after makes me think of Uriah Heep just a little.
In My Mind
The fast paced acoustic guitar driven opening section here makes me think of the first Hawkwind album quite a bit. This works out to a driving psychedelic rock jam that’s quite cool. The guitar driven instrumental section mid-track actually reminds me a little of Captain Beyond. Space rock elements really rule a lot of the later sections of the cut.
Empty
This is more of a straightforward blues rocker. Yet, there are elements of psychedelia and space rock dancing overhead at times. This is a great 1970s styled rocker, really. There are even some hints of country music at times on this.
Desert Life
Growing from a mellow movement to more rocking sounds, this embodies, prog, psychedelia and space rock. Somehow, at times, it makes me think of the Doors. I think it’s mostly about the keyboards. This is one of the best songs of the set. It’s so effective and infectious.
I Am the Six O’Clock News
A harder rocking tune, this has some metal, some punk and some blues rock jamming built into it. It’s set in a great rock groove, really. It’s an effective piece for sure. I have to say that I never would have thought that anyone could make an infectious chorus by just singing the names of the three major broadcast networks. The jam at the end of the track takes it more into psychedelia.
Breakin’ the Ice
There are some familiar musical passages on this. The cut is very much a space rock meets jazz kind of instrumental jam. It’s also magical. It’s a highlight of the set.
Smile
This one also has a lot of jazz built into it. It’s more of a mainstream, straightforward rock song. I love it. The organ soloing is very tasty, too. There are definitely some valid comparisons to Santana to be made here.
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
This classic counter-culture tune gets a very suitable treatment here. It’s a great psychedelic rocker that really feels like it could have been released in 1968. The soulful female backing vocals are classic, really. This is just so tasty. It’s one of the highlights of the disc.
I’m on My Way to Feeling Fine
Feeling like Country Joe and The Fish in a lot of ways, this is another that feels like a real period piece. It’s got that bluegrass folk sound down.
A Song for the Rest of My Life
This riff driven rocker is very classic in sound. It’s got a definite blues rock texture and feels like it would have fit in the late 60s or early 70s.
Love Should Come Easy
Very much a blues song, this is also classic in nature. It’s a fun little number. It’s just not all that special. Still, I love the piano soloing. The little female voice over bit adds a bit of humor.
Maybe
This rocker is catchy and classic in tone. I love the power-pop sounding chorus section. It’s like 1960s rock meets Cheap Trick in a lot of ways.
Ghost Riders in the Sky
Here we get another cover song. They start this off with some classical sounding piano that shifts towards the blues end of the spectrum. From there they launch out into the song proper. The same hard rock with psychedelic leanings that dominate a lot of the disc drive this piece. It’s one of my favorite songs here. It’s also one of my favorite versions of this song. I love the piano solo and the whole thing just rocks in some magical ways. I love the haunting female voice that comes over the top in the closing section. When they twist it out via piano to spookiness after that, it’s especially effective, too.
 
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