Quicksilver Daydream - A Thousand Shadows, A Single Flame

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-02-09
Quicksilver Daydream - A Thousand Shadows, A Single Flame
Quicksilver Daydream - A Thousand Shadows, A Single Flame

This is one for Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and their WABAC time machine.

Quicksilver Daydream’s new EP A Thousand Shadows, A Single Flame is a wonderful glance back to about 1969, a time when pop music was shedding the Summer of Love and (thankfully) taking the flowers out of its collective hairs. Sure, there still are a few late for the party psych seeds blooming in these grooves, but this is rock music with elements of folk that’s in the vein of Love’s Forever Changes, The Moody Blues, circa To Our Children’s Children’s Children, or, perhaps the great band SRC and their Milestones album.

And it’s really well done. As with any other enjoyable EP, my only gripe is its brevity of just five songs and sixteen minute playing time.

Quicksilver Daydream is the brainchild of Adam Lytle. This EP follows in the wake of their first album Echoing Halls. And, well, this music does recreate the sound of a by-gone era, but it was a pretty cool time to be buying records because the music was so expansive and extremely happy in a sonic sort of way. The very first tune, “Beyond the Iron Gate,” swoops up the universe with a mellotron and carries the music away with something akin to a long lost great folk-rock song that points to the stars while speaking to the soul. Yeah, it’s all about “the garden in your mind.”

“Coyote Spirit Child” is more urgent. But again, the beauty of this record is that it sweeps so many bits and pieces into its fretboard; it’s like a friendly blackhole that beckons time and space inside its weird logic. Great rock music has always been about welcoming anyone into a weird logic. The band Big Star, in their song “Thirteen,” told us all to “come inside where it’s okay.” And there’s a wonderful bass line and a guitar bit that recalls the ghost of Love’s Arthur Lee.  

“Ferryman” begins with a slowly dripping guitar, and then a mellotron deepens the tune. This is about a journey; it’s about the drama of a long journey. Yeah, “You can wrap yourself in golden chains,” but the heavy drops of guitar notes suggest a very different pathway, a pathway that is dense with psychological foliage and at least one timeless river to cross. This is beautiful and dreamy stuff.

By the way, everyone should read Siddhartha at least once in a lifetime.  

You know, I watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC time machine when I was just a kid and had no real critical sense about the world. I mean, really, the cartoon was about a smart dog (known as Peabody) who wore glasses and was a two-time Olympic medalist, a Nobel laureate, a business magnate, and an important scientist who adopted the orphan boy Sherman (who was being beaten up by bullies); and, in order to keep Sherman off the couch, invented the WABAC time machine which allowed this really smart dog and his adopted son to go back in time and sort of make fun of everything any Pulitzer Prize winning historian ever cared to carve into stone.

It’s little wonder why rock music caught fire with all of us who still retained a cartoon belief in the utter absurdity of the world.

And this music is the logical soundtrack to a life that hopes all those cartoons were right. And you know, sometimes it’s easy to forget about those WABAC time travels. But this music redraws those memories of a much less complicated life.

There are two more songs: “Raven’s Eye” rocks with a dark fuzzy guitar riff. There are “Moonlit riders fast approaching” and “There’s nowhere to hide.” Years ago, we would have seen that as a Vietnam reference. That was par for the course. But “the cold winds howl,” and, after all these years, we’re still at war, so it’s still a good tune. “Brother Mountain” is the brisk Byrds-like finale. It’s filled with nice harmonies as “Brother Mountain” is told to “take your time.” He “carves the rivers out of stone” and “bows to the wisdom of the sun.” I still love that sort of lyric.

Oh, this is a bit of a WABAC piece. But it’s really well done, and it does travel back to a time when rock ‘n’ roll cared enough to have melody, drama, and, ultimately, be a passage beyond the temporal into a world of a friendly black hole where a really smart dog with glasses could adopt a kid named Sherman and, with a twist or two of irony, make an old cartoon and a record like this still enjoyable even after all these years.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
Related Articles