Painting by numbers doesn’t feed your head, even when it’s a Fabs tribute.
Ones who brought psychedelia to the masses, if not originating it in music, THE BEATLES channeled their innocent experience with new concepts and hallucinogens through songs. Unlike the Liverpudlians, current psych crop doesn’t dabble with drugs but appropriates the forerunners’ stylistic rules as received wisdom which gets in the way of creativity. That’s the point where this collection fails – with occasional truly bright moment.
Its participants’ inertia is signaled by their unwillingness to venture beyond the Fabs’ probing years. Only Englishmen THE LUCID DREAM find the courage to apply a fuzzy crunch to “And I Love Her,” while obvious opener “Tomorrow Never Knows” is stripped of its sinister flow in the hands of German band ELECTRIC MOON in favor of a few vibrant layers. Therefore, the best bet for originality here lies with the pieces that never had an acid edge, such as “Martha My Dear” which is given a structural, rhythmic and sonic overhaul by New Zealanders THE RUBY SUNS to become a lazy crawl instead of a vaudeville number, or “Julia” turned from a ballad into a searing romp by American team THE VACANT LOTS.
Surprisingly, the skeletal “Come Together” wears a magic swirl quite elegantly, thanks to Brits THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH, yet their compatriots THE KVB go to the other extreme and completely change the “Taxman” tint of a tune which, coupled with undecipherable lyrics, render what was a social critique foggily unrecognizable and requires a look at the CD cover. Elsewhere, Tokyo’s KIKAGAKU MOYO spike “Helter Skelter” with crazy raga and incinerate the cut’s heaviness for good, before Californians STRANGERS FAMILY BAND apply a lysergic kaleidoscope to “Sun King” for enhanced funereality.
To psych out without opting out is right for those who dare; the rest may not bother with awakening the sleeping giants.