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The Electric Family

The Long March...From Bremen To Betancuria

Review by Gary Hill

This is a compilation disc from The Electric Family. It has a nice selection of pieces. The sound of this act lands somewhere in the neighborhood of psychedelia and space rock. There is a pretty wide range presented here within that general territorial boundary. It should be noted that I previously reviewed two songs here (on the Ice Cream Phoenix - Resurrection album), the track reviews here are based on those two reviews for the sake of consistency.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Landmark Visions
Mysterious and a little strange, this is melodic and tasty. It moves slowly and builds slowly.  As it continues a killer instrumental movement ensues that climbs out into space rock. As the extended instrumental section continues it really resembles Hawkwind quite a bit. This is one of the best cuts on show and features some killer melodic guitar soloing. This song comes from Ice Cream Phoenix – Resurrection.
In The Web
A song that comes from the Tender album, this is a rocking number. It has some space rock and plenty of psychedelia built into it. I dig the guitar fills that are all over the song.
Space Caravan
Trippy space elements start this one from Family Show. The cut has some cool distorted guitar and a slow moving kind of balladic vibe. It definitely qualifies as space rock. The cut works out into a second section further down the road this is more rocking but even seems to have a bit of fusion in the mix. Still, there is plenty of space rock built into it, too. Some soaring, climbing space rock type stuff takes control further down the road and eventually takes the piece to its ending.
Souls & Coins
Coming from Royal Hunt, psychedelia and space rock merge on this intriguing and quirky number. It has an acoustic rock element to it, but is electrified, too. There is an instrumental section where both fuzz guitar and melodic stuff paint pictures over the top of the driving backdrop. That segment is particularly effective.
Betancuria
Coming from the Tender album, the female vocals really add a lot to this cut. It's a powerhouse psychedelic prog rocker that has a folk rock construction at times.  Around the four and a half minute mark a percussive section takes over. As keyboards paint textures over that, there is a spoken clip from an interview (but I don't know who it is) that holds it for a time. Then the cut shifts toward some cool trippy weirdness to continue.  Eventually this gives way to a cool electronic groove that leans toward EDM. They make their way back to the song proper after a time.
Solid Structure
A song from Ice Cream Phoenix-Resurrection, there’s a definite psychedelic, almost surf music tone to the opening section here. Harmonica shows up as the introduction continues. The on the chorus are mostly spoken and have a retro charm. This definitely has plenty of retro sound in the mix. The verse vocals are more sung. Piano and other elements over the top add a lot of style and character to this piece. There’s a screaming bit of guitar later as it really powers up. Still, it’s a slow moving number that combines bombast and charm into something special. Some noisy dissonance later brings in an almost Rock In Opposition sort of sound.
Ariel's Hyperdrive
Psychedelic space weirdness creates the backdrop for the first vocal movement. As that peaks it shifts out toward a space rock jam that has some definite EDM influence in the mix. The energized jam that ensues is captivating. As that works to the end some children's voices emerge and serve as the parting shot here. This song comes from Family Show.
Close to the Dustheap
We're back in Royal Hunt territory with this number. It's a hard rocking piece as it opens, but it does shift toward more melodic stuff at times. This is an edgy kind of space rock number. Some of the guitar soloing on this calls to mind a fusion Jimi Hendrix to me.
The Inca Cosma Fudge
This song comes from a 7" single. It has a real folk rock kind of vibe, but mixed with the kind of psychedelic space rock one expects from this outfit.
Operation Stardust (Cockpit Edit)
Coming from Operation Stardust-An Interstellar Song Collection, this isn't a big change. It's another effective psychedelic space rock piece. I dig the keyboard elements on this, and the guitar soloing is particularly tasty.
 
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