I do sometimes wonder if extravagance is a word in the Fruits de Mer catalogue for they do excel in the extreme when it comes to releases. This year alone has seen them put out the celebratory ‘Goldfish’ collection to mark their 10th Anniversary, a hulking set spread across 6 sides of wax, well 8 if you count the bonus 7 inch, a triple disc Sendelica happening and an official first vinyl re-issue of Fuchsia’s legendary debut full length. So with Autumn fast approaching, another humungous happening from the FdM sound house, an colossal triple disc covers set featuring a host of regular FdM folk along with a host of new names not so familiar all gathered to celebrate one of pop’s most creative and experimental periods – 1966 – 68. Entitled ‘the three seasons – the spring, summer and autumn of love’, this set shines the light on perhaps pop’s most fertile period and is made all the more special in the inclusion of a track apiece by the yardbirds (a blistering live wrap of ‘think about it’ from 2016), the electric prunes (who turn a smoking cool version of Love’s ‘7 and 7 is’ which frankly has to be heard to be believed) and the pretty things.
As said, set across three hulking slabs of colored vinyl and featuring 27 tracks, ‘the three seasons….’ provides for a lush listening experience, a full on cornucopia of lysergic sound, each of these cuts gems in their own right not least Rob Gould’s rephrasing of ‘granny takes a trip’ which we suggest you immediately turn on to which for the best part stays pretty faithful to the original before woozily jetting off on a freaky cosmedelic trajectory. We’ve already mentioned both LoveyDove and Mark McDowell and friends in previous dispatches, the former turning in a superbly faithful and fractured version of ‘Bedazzled’ the latter re-tweaking a lost Small Faces nugget. The set opens with the Pat Tense taking to task the Attack’s ‘magic in the air’ and in return turning in a superbly scuzzed up riff ripped mod groover that whiffs of Who-isms aplenty. Think I’m right in saying that the excellently flowery named Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder have yet to adore these pages until now, herewith their cover of Made in Sheffield’s ‘Amelia Jane’ arrives softly teased in pristine psych pop daisy chain florals the type of which had us much minded of the first generation of Elephant 6 Collective folk. We here have always had something of a soft spot for the Elektra released ‘the Zodiac Cosmic Sounds’ since hearing the late Mr Peel play it in its entirety across several transmissions in the mid 90’s, for me personally it distilled everything from amorphous flutterbys, flower power twitchings, kaleidoscopia and woozy ambience. ‘Aquarius’ featured here as turned on by Jack Ellister, this version so good that you’d swear it had stepped off the original and something which perfectly captures the Ellister one coping sublimely whilst out of his comfort zone. His latest full length is due for review shortly. Typical of Anton Barbeau, its best to expect the unexpected and on a version of ‘sunshine superman’ he doesn’t disappoint turning in a wonderfully sun fried hazily glazed freakster that to these ears sounds like a cut loose prime time Bolan. Moonweevil, well what can we say, his version of ‘child of the sky’ proving to be one of our favourite moments on ‘three seasons’ and with good reason for this laid back lilter comes caressed in all manner of cosmic florals, free spirited flotillas and lounge lulling overtures as to have it sitting perfectly next to those incoming ‘moodsetters’ and unusual sounds’ sets. Kris Gietkowski’s incoming ‘symmetrical communication’ has, I don’t mind admitting, been blowing our headspace of late, it’s a art that he appears very adept at, a fact highlighted by his bonged out head expanding revamp of ‘a-minor explosion’ which aside creatively putting him up there with Rob Gould is here turned out spruced up in all manner of vividly kaleidoscopic trippy jazz flower pop kookiness – an absolute zonked out listening experience. Again more newbies previously unknown to us, the Locker Room Cowboys turn out a most remarkable take of the Stones ‘we love you’ and into the bargain give it a slick and seductive 90’s psychedelic hot wash which had us minded of the much missed World of Twist. So adoring of King Penguin’s unexpected ‘white bird’ – like Jack Ellister it finds them comfortably out of their comfort zone colouring your listening space with a breezy cocktail of Love-esque dapples replete with sitar shimmered seduction and hair lifting soft psych wooziness. You don’t get many Neil Diamond covers or Neil Sedaka ones for that matter, good then to hear ‘solitary man’ which in the hands of Aunt Cynthia’s Cabin is cooled with the kind of smoking chemistry that attaches to the Hanging Stars, indeed that good. Been a while since the Luck of the Eden Hall graced these pages, we’ve a Gregory Curvey side serving currently simmering on the back burner nearing review dispatch. Before that though the small detail of ‘reflected’ – would I be right in saying the first Alice Cooper cover to feature in FdM’s illustrious 10 year history. Exquisite head freakery that finds Curvey and Co pulling out all the psychedelic stops for some seriously warped out trip-a-delics which as a result of I wouldn’t be too suprised to hear many of you turning to the church of Cooper as new converts.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better the Honey Pot cut an entrancing version of ‘kites’ that soars and arcs with such sublime beauty as to have you held in its bewitching gaze into the bargain revealing the band at their most cut loose and giving. Not to be outdone Cary Grace bravely ups the ante to take on Hendrix’s ‘1983 (a merman I should be…..)’ and emerges from the other side with a nifty slice of sky hugging psych blues under her arm. Up next, Sidewalk Society rewire the Action’s ‘a saying for today’ into a deliciously gloopy cosmic dream weave fashioned with woozy weaves and all manner of dissolving dissipates, very trippy all told. Been a while since we had Jay Tausig gracing these pages, here causing all manner of head flips with his freakbeat take of Briggs / Pentangle’s ‘let no man steal your thyme’ while Magic Bus, also missing in action for too long turn their crooked artistry to cut a deeply alluring tapestry of delights filtered from moments of sun kissed west coast tones and fuzz flecked eruptions upon the Byrds’ ‘tribal gathering’. Somewhere else, and you might have to excuse me here because the tracklisting goes a tad awry at this point, proud peasant give outlandish account of touch’s ‘down at circe’s place’ going all cranium pie into the bargain while progging it out in super stoned out freakery style. Much admired around these here parts, like nothing you’ve heard him attempt before, Mega Dodo dude Icarus Peel hits up Jeff Beck’s ‘Beck’s Bolero’ in the process getting all hairy and beatnik-y with a touching of sky parting serene for good measure. Equally smoked, the green ray, another previously unknown to us arrive resplendently chilled with a super cooled and laid back take on John Martyn’s ‘dusty’ while ex-norwegian tangle with the family’s ‘winter’ and shower it hazy shimmers of kaleidoscopia. Be warned and be best prepared for one of the sets best moments when consterdine’s ‘fly’ rears into view, originally by JK and Co, this psychedelic odyssey comes trip wired in symphonic swirls and the sighing crush of vapour trailing celestials, utterly transfixing. We’ve just taken delivery of the gold needles excellent ‘pearls’ full length and suggest you do to, for now while we busy ourselves cobbling together fond words, the small matter of their cover of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s ‘smell of incense’ – an immaculately turned slice of head expanding love noted incantations teased in mellowing psychedelics and rubbed with the gentle pressing of woozy Eastern promise. Bringing up the rear, the Pretty Things, alas we still haven’t nailed that ‘SF Sorrow’ box set yet damn, here recorded live at the Half Moon in 2010, a version of ‘loneliest person’ incidentally originally appearing on the aforementioned ‘SF Sorrow’ set, if this doesn’t lay you low and strip you of your wherewithal, then frankly your inhuman. Crushing stuff.