Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart: Make Believe It Real
The cast list on the wonderfully titled, Make Believe It Real from Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart, is enough to pique any Space Rocker's interest and with a few reservations, I'd say rightly so; Daevid Allen, Alan Davey, Simon House, Harvey Bainbridge, Richard Chadwick, Keith The Bass and Nick May, being merely the tip of the iceberg on an album where the credit list is so long it would take up this entire review. Then factor in Bridget Wishart and her connections to Hawkwind and really, there are many reasons here to sit up and take notice.
So why those reservations? Well, even in a genre where the point is often skirted round for lengthy periods, Make Believe It Real really can stretch the patience, meandering themes simply floating by almost without reaching their intended destination. However in truth across roughly 90 minutes of music and two discs it is a minor quibble and one easily negated by the sheer, shimmering charm of much of what is on offer. Oddly disc two, the bonus disc, is possibly the best place to start, the six tracks on show (including a version of Pink Floyd's "Take Up Thy Stereoscope And Walk") being far more immediate and creating a smooth, if engaging introduction to this album. In fact the ever evolving and wonderfully bass led "Chain Of Thought", which closes out this entire set, evolves so masterfully across its eight minutes that whether through whispered voices, floating flute, or guitar bursts, it represents this set of songs quite majestically.
However the main piece here is a far harder nut to crack- and I guess intentionally so, with initial remoteness only mellowing after lengthy engagement. Something that does appear to be a dying art these days. The (kind of) title track "Make Believe (It Acoustic)" is an uncompromising opening, a lack of an obviously steady beat and an off kilter vocal immediately taking you aback and yet drawing you in, as much through intrigue for where this journey will take you, as it is for out and out wonderment at the music itself. "Cyber Space" continues the, "can you keep up?", approach, a thumping beat this time suggesting a totally different outcome and while keyboards and effects suddenly take a far more prominent place in proceedings, there's still an unexpected mood of kinship with its predecessor.
Different vibes are revealed, "Revenant" a more primitive piece of Rock, "Demonkind" determined to keep you on the back foot, but in a surprisingly accessible manner this time. Add in the satisfyingly swaying "SpaceRocknRoll" and there's certainly more than enough variance across an album which still makes for an extremely cohesive collective. However it is the closing, lengthy, ever evolving seven part "Reflections" which best illustrates the variety Spirits Burning can serve up, all the while Bridget Wishart adding some wonderful, light touches.
Make Believe It Real is an adventure into days passed and while there are a few occasions where the wandering drifts ever so slightly towards aimless, on the whole the beauty and scope of what has been created wins through. I can't call it a classic, but if this is your thing, then you'll find much to enjoy here and lose many an hour doing so.
1. Make Believe (It Acoustic)
2. Cyber Spice
4. Be Careful What You Wish
5. Skyline Signal
7. Eternal Energy
10.Journey Past The Stars
(iii) brain and body
(vi) three's a crowd
(vii) said goodbye
1. Always (Spirited Away)
2. No One Cries In Space
3. Iceflow (Icetalk Mix)
4. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk
5. Make Believe It Real
6. Chain Of Thought
Added: September 27th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Spirits Burning online
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