Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5
Technically, I suppose that Gorky's Zygotic Mynci was part of the mid 90's Brit pop explosion, but happily they make up part of the freaky branch that includes their Welsh countrymen Super Furry Animals. , This music is clearly echoing the psychedelic jazz/folk lens of acts such as the Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers, although the band rocks out with some full-blast punkish guitar as well on this compilation of their early material. The band's not-so-secret weapon is the vocals of frontman Euros Childs, a great vocalist who finds a great warm balance between youth-like wonder and psychedelic knowing, without sound quite like any of his musical forebearers.
This isn't a particularly long compilation, but it is well stocked with awesome tracks. The opening clutch of tracks is great, great stuff, with 'Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd (Girls Doing Each Other's Hair)' leading off with kind of an acid-fried version of the Pixies loud/soft thing, while 'Methu Aros Tan Haf (Can't Wait Till Summer)' is first rate psych folk and 'Bocs Angelica' contains a really amusing chorus which comes across a little like the doom metal Beach Boys. Later on, 'Why Are We Sleeping' does a pretty fair update of the early Soft Machine sound, and 'The Game of Eyes' earns kudos just for being so damn strange. Only 'Miss Trudy' strikes the twee alarm a little to much for my liking, although it does remain perfectly listenable. 'When You Laugh At Your Own Garden' is probably disposable since it is basically a short, stoned psychedelic experiment. I imagine it worked better on a proper album.
Gorky's made their (still somewhat small) American impact a few years later after they'd upped the acid folk ante and dropped some of the louder bits. Some of this set may come as surprise as it's the sound of a band still thrashing about in their sound, but having a fine time of it. I believe there are a few different versions of this compilation drifting around, with somewhat varying track listings. For better or for worse, I believe this version is the briefest of them, but you'll still have a rollicking good time.