Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love

by Rich Morris Rating:4 Release Date:2011-03-28

Originally called Please Turn Me into the Snat, now retitled Forever Dolphin Love, Connan Mockasin's work psych-folk-jazz-Krautrock-whatever has been re-released, now coupled with a live mini-album, appropriately named Forever Dolphin Live. The switch in title track makes total sense. Where 'Please Turn Me into the Snat', which ends the album, is a faintly annoying piece of prog, complete with needless tempo changes and irksome pixie vocals, 'Forever Dolphin Love' is a ten minute Kraut-jazz odyssey, which begins with discordant chimes before evolving into a skipping, airy, yet tense, Can-like rhythm over-laid with gorgeous slide guitar. It's very much the centrepiece of the album, summing up the best of what's on offer.

Unfortunately, there's not enough of the good stuff on Forever Dolphin Love. While the shimmering harmonies of 'Unicorn in Uniform', which are very much indebted to The Beatles' 'Because', and the fizzing lysergic samba rhythms of opening track 'Megumi and the Milkyway Above' imply a universe of experimentation and strangeness, too often Mockasin falls back on wishy-washy, maudlin folk balladeering. Some of this is welcome, such as the lovely, tangled guitar of 'Its Choad My Dear', recalling dear old Syd Barrett at his most stoned and loose (and that's saying something). However, there are too many instances of polite dinner jazz a la 'Quadropuss Island' or dreary piano and folk violin dirge such as on 'Muss'. When the song titles are more interesting then the music itself, you know you've got a problem.

Another problem is Mockasin's singing. While his squeaky, helium-powered voice has an arresting novelty at first, it quickly becomes an irritant, and by the time we get to 'Please Turn Me into the Snat', you really just want him to pack up his bag of sonic tricks and hop it. On the plus side, the drumming throughout Forever Dolphin Love is excellent, sounding like a cross between Joe Morello, Jaki Liebezeit and Ringo Star. High praise indeed.

Forever Dolphin Live, it almost goes without saying, is for fans only, although it does boast an excellent, extended rendition of 'Forever Dolphin Love' which, in its stripped-back rawness, might even transcend the original.

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