Warped 1975 / Out-Sider 2016
High-shooting, yet lo-fi, escapism down zigzagging road of stardust and ashen trails of misplaced psychedelia.
Perhaps, to Americans living in Singapore mid-’70s didn’t seem too much a time of turmoil, although they couldn’t help but be attuned to what was happening in the U.S.A. That might have made the teenagers who created this band feel quite alien to their surroundings whence a quest for belonging was born in the form of a record. Released in a limited run, “Terranaut” became a cult item – and it deserves such a status.
Written for the most part by singing guitarist Kim Bengs, there’s an apparent space slant to this concept ride from the title track introducing a protagonist over a piano splashes and psych guitar twang, to “Goodbye” carrying the quieter poise to the ivories, and while the recording sounds primitive in places, it’s difficult not to be sucked in its vortex. One of the key to this pull is six-strings-produced special effects which turn “Cosmic Journey” into much more than a merry strum before spilling their hot funk into the chaotic urban scenes of “You’ve Got To Rap” where Guy Rittger’s bass and Howard Kukla’s rhythm axe have a street-corner chat. The talking blues “Easy Term Pleasure” is a satirical soliloquy, though, a groovy one, yet it takes a lot of confidence and skill from drummer Bryan Hall to pitch a motorik solo in the heart of “I’ll Remember” which bares the roots of it all that lay in the ’60s rhythm-and-blues.
In the preceding decade, the tight-but-loose “Number 4” could have fed many a head, but the two hundred listeners who were spinning it in 1975 didn’t get so high as to love the LP. Still, 40 years later, its alien charm remains intact and Terranauts are still roaming the Earth.