Quality: 3.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.75 out of 5
How could we go wrong with a tripped out, turned on, hip priest? Certainly not on this album. I mean we're not really looking at a lost classic, but if you've got an itch for some psychedelic exploitation with a practically incomprehensible religious twist, then this is the right place to turn. I know nothing about the good father beside the evidence in front of me. I grew up in the Episcopal church, and I'd wager that this is justified along the lines of some strange mission. Good for time, and demented sounds for us.
Musically, this is pure psychsploitation. There is an anonymous backing band hitting the requisite fuzzed out guitar patches along with tripped out organs (not church organs) and some groovy backbeats. They do get some chances to shine as on the rollicking, almost-flying apart "Chalice."
But the main act here is the spoken word voice overs of Father Berkery. I think that the idea here was to have a series of short sermons, but in order to stay hip and 'with it,' the religious rhetoric is laced with third-rate Jim Morrison-isms. That's why we end up with lines like "Bless me father, for I have sinned/Stop pushing; I am the next to get in" on "Confession." Also keep in mind that this is just after he's referred to the snakes slithering around the church pews. No, Fr. Berkery never shows any signs of actual musical ability; he's just here for the chicks as with William Shatner Transformed Man (at least I hope that's why Shatner was in the studio; there's no other rational excuse for that one). I guess he manages a few moments of white-priest filtered rapping on the almost funky "Seminary." Later, just the concept of "Celibacy" depresses me just a bit; but the good Father does have a nice psychedelic explanation of it. "Preaching" comes acroos like the rightfully long-lost Byrds collaboration; actually make that with second-rate Byrds soundalikes.
This isn't really something that you're going to cruise around town groovin' to. But if a psychedelic album with a priest on the cover intrigues you, I don't think that this will disappoint. It's certainly something that would be fun for your next party playlist.