PIG RIDER – The Robinson Scratch Theory

Guerssen 2015

PIG RIDER - The Robinson Scratch Theory

The Robinson Scratch Theory

Time-warped psych trip from lo-fi British adventurers scraping the bottom of their brimful barrel.

Obscure to the point of invisibility, John Mayes and Colin Kitchener formed a duo in the late ’60s and put out a couple of acetate-only albums in the middle of the next decade but didn’t stop in the face of not getting recognition they deserved. So while “Heterophonies” and “Bloody Turkey Sandwiches” – also reissued by Guerssen – have found their way into collectors’ circles and made a buzz, these LPs appear to be only a smattering of the small band’s recordings. The songs gathered here, on two discs, were laid down, also in bedroom circumstances, between 1980 and 1986 yet their sound and style might be attributed to the times of the RIDER’s beginning.

A string of curious characters running across these 25 tracks hint at a humorous concept, although it’s tunes that are so catchy, from the court dance of “The Incredible Stan” – high on fairground organ and shot through with a harmonized guitars solo – to “Weekend In Spain” where the techno-stung retrofuturism rocks the joint. So, part of the story or not, the punchy, if lysergic, rocksteady “I Want To Make A Million” not only pokes fun at potential nouveau riches but also lodges itself in the listener’s memory.

The more nagging “Can’t Stand People” may connect the old-timers to punks, a concept of the past by then, and the drone boogie of “The Slough Tobacconist’s Blues” comes endearingly minimalistic, yet, for all the duo’s DIY approach, pieces like “Ralph The Poisoned Ferret” demonstrate a fuzz-heavy, almost orchestral scope. The melody of another riff-laden cut, “Just Can’t Dance,” seems to be updating Cat Stevens’ “Moon Shadow” with its “if I ever lose my legs” sentiment, but “Child Of The Sixties” comes in as an apology and nostalgia for the hippie era.

Still, given the variety on offer – within a single composition, in the case of 11-minute cosmic epic “Alight With Prowling Hamburgers” – boredom rarely sets in there, save for the repetitive “The Fish Fetishist” perhaps. And if the crystal-transparent, kindness-hailing “Give Your Lunch To A Lemming” promises an instant gratification, that’s what this collection results in. A spectacular ride.


September 30, 2015

Category(s): Reviews
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