Two Medicine - Astropsychosis - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Two Medicine - Astropsychosis

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-11-02
Two Medicine - Astropsychosis
Two Medicine - Astropsychosis

Once upon a time, they were all just loveable mutts. Now, they are deemed designer dogs, portmanteau pets with names like doodle, scroodle, hoodle, or yoodle, sometimes with adjectival color prefixed to new convoluted (and sometimes non-shedding) breeds of canine companions.

But, as the band Mason Proffit once sang in their tune “Cripple Creek”: “I don’t know what I’ve been told, but a good dog’s worth his weight in gold.”

So, doodles, scroodles, hoodless, or whatever, I’ll love them all.

And, to quote Kurt Vonnegut (once again), So it goes with this album. It’s either a Pink Mac or Fleetwood Floyd, depending, I suppose, on personal preference. I mean, this record is a beautiful hybrid of Pink Floyd’s songs like “Pillow of Winds” and “Fearless” from Meddle and Fleetwood Mac’s mid-period tunes like “Woman of a Thousand Years” and “Future Games” from the album of that same name, which is a blessed record that I’ll take any day over Tusk.

To be blunt: this is wonderfully dreamy, folky-electric psych stuff, with a bassoon chaser.

To be a bit blunter: this is a solo record from Paul Alexander, the bass, electric guitar, and (as referenced in the last sentence) bassoon player for the band Midlake. Now, they are a great band that gazed back into the folk music of England, circa 1972 with a sound now dissimilar to Fairport Convention or the more acoustic tunes from Wishbone Ash. And trust me, there’s nothing wrong with that. And, quite frankly, any fan of Midlake’s muse will love this record, too.

“SF” begins with a spritely bit of electronics, while the bass and drum propel the tune into a pleasant rhythm with vocals that float the melody. Guitars chime in the background. Did I say the bass line is absolutely pulsing in a profound sort of way? 

This is dreamy stuff. “Oblivion” is much more acoustic, and it quietly expands its canvas, just like Pink Floyd swept psych landscapes into the groves of a record. Although, this music is, perhaps, much more direct and melodic. “Will Not” is more pillows of winds stuff. It’s lovely music. As is “Voice,” which mounts a headwind of sound. And “Gold” is melodic, while it chimes and pleads like a distant memory of a pretty good radio hit song. “An Eye for an Eye” has a similar languid sound as Dark side of the Moon’s “Us and Them.” Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. This is music that fits the glove of a contemplative evening’s fingers.

The title track, “Astropsychosis,” conjures The Beach Boys harmonies while riding the waves on a fuzz guitar surfboard. This one is a complex acoustic-rock-psych-grumbly chord progression crossword puzzle solved.

And then, oh my, “Kuopio” is a beauty, with a slightly Eastern swirl mixed with a patient folk delivery. This tune extends time and somehow seems to be beg forgiveness. And that’s a really nice thing for a song to do.

The final song, “tmrw,” has an acoustic heart, that returns, once again, to that dreamy Fleetwood Mac music (before the mega-platinum Stevie Nicks stuff) with a brief but beautiful west coast Future Days vibe and a “deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves” Pink Floyd echoed final wave.

So, all good dogs should sing. The Floyd let Seamus, Steve Marriott’s Collie, howl a bit in the closing grooves of Meddle’s first side (without, I assume, writer’s royalties). And all good records should also spin. Of course, once again, to almost quote Mason Proffit’s (before mentioned) take on the Bill Monroe chestnut bluegrass tune “Cripple Creek”: “A good rock record is worth its weight in gold.”  So, sure, the bass and bassoon player from a good band should take the time to record an album of nice tunes, deep thoughts, positive chimes, and an invite into a musical world of Midlake, and then every other lake throughout the very musical universe that always just happens to have great bass lines in all the sonic songs that, like any dog’s bark, simply needs to be sung. This is a record of old music, and it’s a record of new music, and then it’s a record of old and new all over again. So, love (less commercial) Fleetwood Mac. Love Meddle Floyd. Love folky Midlake. And then enjoy this record because, to quote Burton Cummings (of The Guess Who fame), it “sings an honest song to the people.” And, once again, that’s always a nice thing for a rock ‘n’ roll record to do.

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