postcards from the deep

Okay I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but of the forthcoming Fruit de Mer year end release roster surely the ‘postcards from the deep’ set (which for the FdM purists its essentially a bumper 2015 annual) must be the most sought after – of course goes without saying you still need those Chemistry Set and Coltrane 7’s – but on looks, packaging, concept and bands featured alone this surely ranks as the primo essential FdM outing to date. Of course this comes hot on the heels of the lavish ‘7 and 7 is…’ box set (sold out we believe in nanoseconds) and frankly we here are seriously trying to come to terms as to how the hell they are going to top this. Okay let’s get the semantics out of the way – looks and packaging. A clam shaped box of which are contained 10 flexi discs, upon the flexis one track from each of the gathered contributors, each flexi disc coming housed with its own unique postcard with the entire set bundled together with a full colour poster and to wrap it up all a bonus CD featuring (for those of you without turntables) all the tracks within along with a few extended edits and various rehashes of the featured tracks. The concept – simple – get your favourite bands and give them all the simple remit to cut a cover of their own choosing and give it a freakbeat wig trim, according to FdM head honcho Keith things didn’t quite go to plan – the covers part was fine but style wise what you have is an ever widening head expanding spectrum of sound that blends and cross wires tonalities drawn mainly from surf, fuzz, garage freakouts and the occasional voyage into kosmiche so that what you get is a broad church of weirdness with the likes of familiar mainstays Count Five, the pretty things, brain ticket and the sorrows being revisited and mixing it up with the lesser known lost nuggets from Satori, Calico Wall, Dragonfly and the Hippies. The bands – 10 in all – with firm FdM favourites Schizo Fun Addict, the Luck of Eden Hall, Crystal Jacqueline, Icarus Peel and Astralasia rubbing shoulders up against psych torch bearers the Loons, the Crawlin Hex, the Thanes, the Blue Giant Zeta Puppies and the Past Tense. As to the tracks – in truth each and every one a certified nugget – so good you can’t separate them, the quality is that sublime, one thing is certain this compilation offers a stone cold head trip of some measure. First up to the plate the Luck of Eden Hall who go all feral and primitive for what is a stonking wild and wired n’ faithful rephrasing of the Count 5’s garage beat cornerstone ‘psychotic reaction’ –possessed of an in your face fuzzy bite the type of which you rarely hear this edgy on a TLoEH platter this shade adorned winkle picker tapping strut cool comes niftily done to pristine primitive perfection replete with head scrambling unravelling easy action. More fringe flipping groove this time headed up by Ugly Things mainman Mike Stax, the Loons have carved themselves a niche in all things 60’s garage beat, bastard offspring of the 13th floor elevators these dudes / dudettes cook up a hippy shimmied kaleidoscopic power pop pout courtesy of their re-wiring of Dragonfly’s ‘celestial empire’ and into the bargain pack in more soul savvy psych blues in three and a half minutes than most bands do in a whole lifetime. The crawlin’ hex I suspect will be frequent visitors to these pages if their voodoo grooved re-visioning of Calico Wall’s ‘I’m a living sickness’ is anything to judge by, a kind of dark Doors-ian slab of shadowy psych beat albeit fractured through the frazzled mind set of Joe Meek’s dark half all sparsely spared and gouged in ghostly atmospherics – quite stunning if you ask me. The pretty things’ ‘lsd’ get some shock treated action from the fuzz twanged daddios the Thanes, this honey coming tripped out in all manner of woozy mind morphing lysergia by way of some far out Sitar spirals, seriously freakish riffola and the wild blast of harmonica shrieks – very Walking Seeds. Adored here was their recently debuting full length platter ’12 theories of time travel’ – a cornucopia of twanged out sci fi tweaked b-movie grooviness, now along comes the blue giant zeta puppies take on Satori’s ‘time machine’ – a 60’s key drenched swinging party pack, a kind of cosmically fried Trashmen on an astral Arabian retreat is you like and with a deeply trippy and wiggy romp. Dabbling on a similar aural curve are the Past Tense whose re-treatment of the Hippies obscure groove ‘soul fiction’ is swirled in all manner of acutely cute kosmiche carousel motifs that imagines echoboy hanging out at a milky way bar with those dudes over at Fly. Admired – nay adored around these here parts Schizo Fun Addict have in recent times hit such an acute musical groove in so far as the crafting of turntable turn ons that sounds emanating from their sonic bunker have been known to be considered too hot for wax, this dandy take on the Sorrows ‘take a heart’ is no exception, a smoking cool mind trip of woozy freak pop tousled in all manner of kaleidoscopic cosmicalia freebasing on elements of shimmying soft psych bubble groove and oodles of stoned out there sexiness. Sassiest cut of the set is the sub three minute straight to the point spring heeled sunshine psychedelia pouting from the grooves of Crystal Jacqueline’s rebranding of ‘you just gotta know my mind’ which aside radiating transistor tempting feel good vibes also has the unnerving habit of having your listening space transformed into a lysergic lightshow. That said those expecting some kind of tranced out ambient vapour ride in the company of Astralasia better just stop right there right now given they cook up a frothy and funky progian juju shakedown out of Brainticket’s ‘brainticket’ which in truth takes your mind to places you never thought a record could take it, a full on surround sound freaksome tropicalia in short. Last up and by no means least Icarus Peel goes to town on ‘the avengers theme’ – that’ll Steed et al not the Marvel noddies, now I’ll be the first to admit that this TV cult show had some seriously warped moments during the Tara King reign – in my view still the best period (now watch for the complaints from fans of Diana Rigg), I mention this not as an aside but merely to point out that this wired and fractured retooling perfectly compliments that era…oh and its zany, the song and the series. Final assessment time – ‘postcards from the deep’ is a faultless can do no wrong compilation, an essential happening, FdM’s own ‘Nuggets’ anyone?

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