Serpent Power - Electric Looneyland - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Serpent Power - Electric Looneyland

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2017-12-15
Serpent Power - Electric Looneyland
Serpent Power - Electric Looneyland

This is an easy one to review. First, Serpent Power’s Electric Looneyland combines the talents of Ian Skelly of The Coral and Paul Molloy of The Coral and The Zutons. I really like both bands simply because each group has created wonderful and clever rock music. Listen to Who Killed…The Zutons and The Coral’s Magic and Medicine. Secondly, this takes the template of English rock circa 1965-68, when pop music fused with cosmic awareness, and the resulting universe was just a pretty great place to exist, and, of course, to also buy record albums.

Think about The Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow. The Blossom Toes’ If Only for a Moment. Bulldog Breed’s Made in England. Kaleidoscope’s Faintly Blowing. Mighty Baby’s first self-titled album.

And then project all of that sound into our cruddy popular musical world of today, with its choreographed dance steps, auto-tuned vocals, and Super Bowl halftimes antics that wow crowds that don’t give a rat’s rectum about a backbeat or, for that matter, any song by The Ramones. Yeah, this album is a fresh air blast from the past. It gives credence to Einstein’s belief that time is a curve. This music meant something back then, and it continues to resonate today. This music was just a lot of fun back then, and it’s still a lot of fun today.

“Golden Dawn” kicks the album into orbits past and future with a vocal that sounds like Cream’s “I Feel Free.” There’s a great fuzzy guitar solo that speaks with drama. Next, “The Colour Out of Space” introduces odd and antiquated keyboard sounds (that continue throughout the album). This is good dreamy stuff with more fuzzed guitar sounds and filtered vocals. Ian Skelly’s drums propel the music. “Howling” is eerie with its incessant guitar and dark vocal which confesses, “All my howling was for you.”

Then “Jekyll and Hyde” is a fun house ride through the better bits of weird pop music. Yeah, there is  another serious business fuzzed guitar solo, a Moody Blues-like cascading vocal, and yet another strange sci-fi keyboard sound. Speaking of The Moody Blues, “Black Angel Rider” is forged from the same cosmic stuff as “Ride My See-Saw” from In Search of the Lost Chord. But it’s bullet-proof in the sense that this is no mere re-tread. As I said, this music was a lot of fun back then, and it’s still vital today.

My friend, Kilda Defnut, thinks that The Beatles reached their quintessential toppermost of the poppermost with Rubber Soul and Revolver. She claims with equal authority to have never successfully looked into microscope and, with equal purity, to have never listened to “Revolution #9” in its entirety. She says the same thing about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” But “In the Witching Hour” and “Gates of Heaven” have the depth of funny dark matter that Maxwell never could envision with his silly hammer that went “Bang! Bang!”

Then there is the super fuzz of “In Her Mind I Am Me.” A bit of psych philosophy, I suppose. What did John Lennon say, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” Yeah, it’s something like that with a cosmic keyboard haunting the depths of the tune.

Then the final two tracks slow things up a bit, as great album tracks did back then. “Ancient Aviator” soars with even more fuzzy guitar drama and distant vocals. And “The Sleeper” pulses with all the greatness of Blue Oyster Cult’s tune “Astronomy” from Secret Treaties. And that’s a good thing. This is wide open rock music. The drums pound away; the vocals chant a melody; the guitar sings, and the keyboards are wonderful in a weird way. This is epic grand finale stuff.

So, this is good psych stuff. It’s strange sounds psych stuff. It’s legitimate psych stuff. It’s a trip inside, and a trip inside is always worthwhile. Truthfully, I was watching a television commercial that tried to con me into buying an expensive car so my neighbors would think I make a lot of money. This record doesn’t care about fancy cars. It’s just clever music that makes me happy with the universe that has enough stars and vibrations to fill the grooves of countless classic records. This album has a bit of that star dust. And that’s why, as I said from the very start, it’s such an easy one to review.

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