Quality: 4.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Man, I had a ceremony with this one. Listen to this and you're down for a primordial psychedelic pummeling. Yeah, this is the music that the CIA created. The sound's going straight for the hidden punk rock face of the Velvet Underground follow-up act in the Factory. They don't necessarily have the talent, but they've got the Owsley to do their thing. Word on the street is that the group were some English visual artists throwing down the drafting gear, picking up guitars and bongos, and doing their thing. There's barely songs here, but the tribal gathering is clear and the vibrations are just at the right frequency.
We'll focus straight on the main event. "Empire of the Sun" is an epic, fifteen minute awakening - drums pounding away with a churning rhythm guitar, punctuated by bells and strange spoken incantations. The opening "H-O-P-P-Why?" opens the proceedings in a similar vein, but there's plenty of weirdness in between. "A Mind Blown is a Mind Shown" rides folkier waves and "Aoum" goes spiritual, acapella Ligeti, but the pure freak out comes in "The New Messiah Coming 1985." It's a warped audiograph of the dosed coffee house of the times - unplugged but electrifying to the ear.
Are songs always the answer? Hapsash and the Coloured Coat don't seem particularly convinced. The tunes here are a far cry from psychedelic pop, but they take the raw elements of what was hip and splatter it against the wall Pollock-style. At least they have the etiquette to warn you with the album cover depicting your mind getting blown.