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Mick Farren and Andy Colquhoun

Black Vinyl Dress

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s just say, right off the bat, not all of this is really progressive rock. In fact, the argument could be made to land it elsewhere. Still, there is quite a bit of prog here. Additionally, the whole concept of poetry readings over music is pretty much “art rock’ by definition. This is an intriguing disc, even if it might not be something you find yourself listening to over and over again.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Black Dogs Circle

Piano features prominently in the arrangement here. The guitar definitely drives some cool soloing later, though.

Cocaine + Gunpowder
Tribal percussion is the main backdrop here, but other instruments are heard, too. The guitar bit at the start of this makes me think of Prince to some degree.
Black Vinyl Dress
I think this might be my favorite tune here. The music has more of a “song” like structure, based on acoustic guitar sounds that bring a balladic approach. There are also space elements here that work really well. The spoken recitation is one of the best here. It’s sort of a mysterious tale. All in all, if you don’t like this one, you probably won’t like anything here.
Venus on Her Shell
This is one of the most rocking numbers here. It has a rather minimalist arrangement. It’s less proggy or psychedelic than a lot of the stuff. It’s a good tune, nonetheless. It’s not really one of my favorites, though.
The Dark Matter
Percussion starts this and then we get an even more straightforward, mainstream rock sound.
I Don't Like It Here
This one strikes me as about someone in a mental health facility. It’s a bit annoying in its repetitiveness. It’s still a decent cut, though.
Pick up the Scissors and Run
There are some more sung vocals on this thing. It’s a real rocker in a lot of ways and one of the best tunes of the set. You have to love the title, too. Parts of this make me think of Hawkwind a bit.
If I Was a Hun on My Pony
Here we get another of the more effective pieces. It’s got a cool rock sound to the music. The vocal performance is one of the better ones, too. I like it quite a bit overall.
Cigarettes
Another with some real rock in the mix, this is a fun one. There is a pretty extensive instrumental section, too. It has some progressive rock and some classic rock built into it. Some non-lyrical female vocals add a nice touch. There’s also a cool false ending with a little reprise after it.
Beautiful Women
There is a lot of variety brought to this by the multiple layers of vocals, some male and some female. It’s got a slower, but very powerful, classic rock element at play. In some ways this piece reminds me a bit of Gong.
AK47
This cut is another with various vocals in the mix. It’s a pretty straightahead rocker that’s among the most accessible pieces here.
Humidity on the 7th Floor
There’s a real drama to the fairly sparse mix here.
AK47 (Reprise)
As the title suggests, we get a return to the earlier track here. This feels a bit more echoey and rather space rock oriented. In fact, it reminds me of Hawkwind quite a bit.
Tomorrow Never Knows
This cover song is pretty cool. It’s got a great groove to it and the psychedelia works well. The guitar soloing is quite tasty, too.

 

 
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