Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5
This disc seems to be a bit ahead of its time. We've got the requisite psychedelic sounds, but also some strange touches of prog rock and disco before the full emergence of those forms. If that's not enough, we get a Peter Pan concept album. Strangely, the band doesn't take the 'happydaystoytown' approach so much, but works out some stranger noises to guide the story along. The Who's rock operas aren't a bad reference point, although the Merchants of Dream do carve out their own niche.
Even if we throw out the whole concept, there is some prime psychedelic pop hiding out in the grooves of this disc. After an enjoyable overture (take notes as side B will also start with an overture), we hear the disco-pulsing and orchestrated "Strange Night Voyage of Peter Pan." "Wendy" follows well as a back-pulsing, mid-tempo freak-out. After a few story advancing tracks is the full-speed forward, psych rocker "Lovelife's Purple Circus." Hiding out on the second side is "Alicey," which comes across as your personal sonic morphine drip. We also will find "(We Are) Dream Vendors," which closes the album as the best track with a catchy chorus and a groovy beat.
I've got to admit that I rarely mentally apply myself to album concepts, and for better or for worse Strange Night Voyage is no exception. Fortunately, we get enough little nuggets of great psychedelic pop that the story doesn't really matter a whole lot. I don't know, show me the Broadway revival of this and maybe I'll get that aspect more; except that I'm not really a Broadway fan in the first place.