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Magic Mushroom Band: Singles and Rarities

I knew little about this band until now but after hearing the songs making up the 4 singles on this compilation, I really need to go out in search of the albums. The first 3 tracks are the songs for the single "Pictures in my Mind". Early Hawkwind and Gong to a lesser degree are the main inspiration for the band I would guess with the archetypical scaling riffs and busking feel predominating, most notably on the single's title track. Shades of Gong's Gilli Smyth in the ethereal vocals of Jane Bradfield appear on "Squatter in the House" with its hypnotic electronic rhythm and astral guitar chords. A distorted, spacier than the original, version of The Byrds classic, "Eight Miles High", completes the set and does justice to it in the bargain.

"Magick Eye" and the b-side Pink Floyd cover make up the next two tracks. The a-side is a tour de force of 80s New Romantics' electronic keyboards and drums with a sound not too far from Hawkwind's Space Bandits album. Again the band do justice to the cover song, giving Floyd's work an even more mystical atmosphere with an Eastern tinge to the synthesised pipes and a scarier screaming than the original. In fact I think I prefer this to the original. The next 3 tracks area all taken from the EP "Freshly Picked", starting with "Life is so strange". The gentle acoustic and slide guitars here support a reflective vocal, a move completely away from the Hawkwind/Gong essence, returning to a hippie pop sensibility and quite exquisitely executed. "Turban paranoia" shows the band's genius with electronic percussion, heralding a change in style toward the dance scene and bands like Orbital.

"Astralasia" was to become the name of the band to where some members of the Mushrooms migrated; the song itself continues the Orbital dance-rave style. The ridiculously titled song "Slap tongue squeaky bonk" closes this really enjoyable compilation.

Track Listing
1. Pictures in my mind
2. Squatter in the House
3. Eight Miles High
4. Magick Eye
5. Set the controls for the heart of the sun
6. Life is so strange
7. Turban paranoia
8. Astralasia
9. Slap tongue squeaky bonk

Added: May 27th 2008
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: VoicePrint
Hits: 1910
Language: english

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