=  February 2024 =  
Adrian Shaw
Soft Hearted Scientists
The Cyclist Conspiracy
Moon Goose
Nick Wheeldon
Kitchen Malkin
Dean McPhee
Donovan's Brain



Available on Blue Matter

Shaw’s legendary career stretches back nearly sixty years, having performed and/or recorded with Steve Peregrine Took, Hawkwind/Hawklords, Country Joe McDonald, Keith Christmas, Mick Farren and the Deviants (at Terrastock 1 in 1997), Arthur Brown, Magic Muscle and J.P. Sunshine (both with Rod Goodway - the album is dedicated to Goodway, who passed away in 2022), and The Bevis Frond. He assisted the latter’s Nick Saloman running the Woronzow label through which he released five solo albums. His latest is on Saloman’s new imprint Blue Matter Records, and is Shaw's first solo release in nearly a decade. Adrian plays all the instruments except for a few solos by Saloman and Bari Watts.

     Things start choogling along on the hard rocking opener ‘A Golden Future’, Shaw’s fat-fingered bass throbbing along behind a screaming guitar solo and earwig guitar riff. ‘Take Your Time’ wah-wah-winds its way around a moody groove and the poppier ballad ‘The Point Of No Return’ features some rolling keyboards and a patented screaming Saloman guitar solo.

     Shaw’s gift of crafting a catchy melody around serious lyrical content (no moon-June-swoon pap here) grabs your attention throughout ‘It Must Be Right’ and ‘My Mind Has A Mind Of Its Own’ delivers some serious psychedelic vibes: distorted voices, special spacial effects, and the usual bag of mind altering trips, er tricks.

     The title track features headswirling sitar and electronics and heavy-duty cosmic lyrics, but Shaw evens the playing field with the come-down acoustic pop ballad ‘Conflicting Views,’ which fades out to a twangy slide guitar solo. Shaw’s former Bevis Frond bandmate Bari Watts (Outskirts Of Infinity, Scorched Earth) lends his string-bending talents to the rocket-ship blast of ‘Didn’t See It Coming’ and the equally headthrobbing buzz of ‘Remember Me.’

     While Shaw is best known for his bass skills, this album reveals (or reiterates to fans of his earlier solo albums) what a great guitarist he can be when duty calls; he holds his own with Watts and Saloman. Just plop this one on and crank it up to 11 and sit back and smile (and maybe join Shaw in that little toke he enjoys on the back cover!)

(Jeff Penczak)



(DLs from  bandcamp.com )  

Pefkin is, of course, the alter-ego of long time Terrascope favourite Gayle Brogan, her beautifully realised and nature inspired drones always hitting the spot around here with these two collections easily maintaining that standard as they shimmer and drift from the speakers.

    Featuring, Melodeon, synths, Aeolian Chimes, Hydrophone and Gayle's sweetly whispered vocals, “The Light Bends Inwards” begins in elegant style as “Snowdrops by the Lade” comes creeping in, a cold and sudden breeze that sweeps you away with its icy beauty, the piece constantly, but slowly, evolving as each sound climbs to the top only to be submerged again in the murky drones, the vocals adding a soft glitter to the soundscape. Deeper and more melancholy in texture, like a half remembered folk song in a dream, “The Drowned City” has an aching quality about it, a slow rumble that dissipates time leaving only the moment, sudden static shards of noise only heightening the sense of isolation.

   Possibly the soundtrack to some serious cloud watching, albeit on an overcast and stormy day, “Spoondrift”is just beautiful and the perfect introduction to “The Haar Still Haunts My Dreams”, a thirteen minute track that is gently marinated in birdsong that acts as a counterpoint to the drones that entwine around them, the songs grounding the listener allowing you to drift away with the sounds created. This is music for woodland walks, fire side meditation,or simply to be listened to through headphones, the rich and textured soundscape offering plenty of sonic delights that demand further listening before its full glory is revealed.

    Originally released as a lathe cut on Sonido Polifonico, now long sold out, “Observations On Land And Sea” features five relatively short tunes (by Pefkin Standards) with one of them clocking in at under four minutes. With vocals that seem to be coming from the other side of a frozen lake, “The Sea Is A Mirror” is a delicate opening tune that echoes and shimmers like mist on a rocky shore at low tide, the rippling waves glimpsed through the shroud of grey, that same grey shroud following you into your dreams as “Smoke Drift” takes over, a slow motion tune that hardly moves, fragile and hard to find against a sullen sky, yet completely engulfing you with its eerie drone.

   With each track based on descriptions in the Beaufort Scale this collection is a wonderful evocation of natural places with “Crested Wavelets On Inland Water” vividly bringing to life images suggested by the title, whilst “Leaves Rustle and the Wind in my Hair / Light Flags Extended”  is a game of two halves the first filled with light and birdsong before dark clouds roll in for the second half, the sounds more abstract and unsettling before finally fading into a single vocal note.

    To end, “Loose Papers” is a hymn to nature sung by an altar of stones as old Gods open one eye and shed a tear for such wonders, the tune timeless and very haunting.

   Those who know the work of Pekin should definitely add these to the collection and if, by some chance, you are new to Gayle's work then this is the perfect place to immerse yourself and enjoy.

(Simon Lewis)


Fruits De Mer   Triple Vinyl Album   www.fruitsdemerrecords.com

Nathan Hall’s Soft Hearted Scientists make a welcome return; Nathan has been playing with his Sinister Local’s as of late. After 2016’s ‘Golden Omens’, Nathan appeared to have put the band to bed, but luckily for us they sail again. He recorded seven albums from 2017 until last year’s Golden Fleece as Nathan Hall And The Sinister Locals.

The Scientists consist of Michael Bailey – bass, Paul Jones – electric and acoustic guitars plus backing vocals, Dylan Line – keyboards, electronics and sound effects with Nathan - lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, electronics and sound effects, with Spencer Segelov – drums on half the tracks and producer Frank Naughton playing drums on the other half, Frank also invented some of the special effects on the album.

Waltz Of The Weekend is deliciously lengthy, 72 minutes on a single 12 track disc, with four tailor made compact radio friendly psychedelic pop singles, one of which ‘What Grows In The Garden’, opens the record in fine style, all heavenly harmonies and swirling synths. The title track arrives draped in languid sitar and reverb, Nathan says of this track “it’s a psychedelic waltz inspired by a trip to Tintern Abbey. It features an outrageously over the top haunted middle section that sounds like it Bohemian Rhapsody performed by ghost monks, with Hank Marvin playing surf guitar in another dimension”.

‘Sea Anemone Song’, starts off sprightly enough, but the subject of domestic gloom waylays it, the song gradually disintegrates towards the final stages, breaking up into the ether. Another of those short, sharp psychedelic pop songs is up next, ‘Rode My Bike’, it’s terrific fun, clever, multi layered and as made as a box of frogs, the following ‘Gadzooks’, utilises a lot of the same lyrics as Bike, but sets them to a completely different melody, strings and some crazy lead guitar are prominent, a similar melody to ‘The Witch’ on Mark Fry’s classic album Dreaming with Alice, is playing merrily away, somewhere in the distance.

‘Who Loves The Moon’, is brilliant, classic SHS, a yearning, multi layered mini symphony, a lament to lost love. After a brief intermission, ‘The Fixer’ arrives and is the third of our four tailor-made, radio friendly, psychedelic pop songs. ‘The Things We Make’, is a musical ballad about musical creativity, it tells of a haunted evening in Wales, many years ago, the song appears to have been abducted by the ghost of Lee Scratch Perry halfway through, resulting in some echo laden effects dub. ‘Vicious Vivian’, is the remainder of our psych pop nuggets, stuffed to the gills with vocal and instrumental hooks. ‘Creepers And Vines’, is another gem of a song, seven minutes of drifty, languid sounds, it’s clever and playful, a series of lovely, gentle melodies, twinkle away.

 ’Venus Fly Trap’, which follows, is also seven minutes long, a nightmare of Nathan’s imagination , in which he is on trial, faced with a corrupt judge, jury and hangman, all eagerly vying for his blood, it’s quirky and has a queasy melody. And so we arrive at the end of the original album, (which was originally released in the summer of 2023 on CD from the bands own record label) with possibly the longest and ambitious song that the band has recorded/released, ‘Lost Mariners’, an eleven minute psychedelic seafaring song, complete with San Francisco acid rock guitar solos, plenty of sound effects and oodles of analogue synth towards its conclusion, lost in the sea mists and far from home, a watery grave on a haunted seabed.

Side 5 of this triple vinyl edition contains three quite different remixes of ‘Rode My Bike’, ‘What Grows Inside The Garden’ and ‘The Sea Anemone Song’, whilst side 6 features a sidelong remix of the whole shebang by producer Frank Naughton, who ripped all of the songs to bits and remade them into a seventeen minute odyssey.

This is a fabulous album; being inventive, clever and extremely listenable, highly recommended and worth every penny.

(Andrew Young).


(LP, Digital on Subsound Records)


You probably haven’t heard an album like this lately.  Maybe never.  Belgrade, Serbia’s ten-piece outfit The Cyclist Conspiracy blends a massive psychedelic rock sound with world influences spanning nations and continents alike.  The male-female aggregate takes its name from a Serbian postmodern novel that sounds fascinating by itself, and Mashallah Plan is sort of a play on the post-World War 2 Marshall Plan, Marshall amps, and an Arabic word that means ‘what God has willed has happened.’


The album’s concept is of a man’s bicycle journey away from civilization towards the desert, and is also laden with bird imagery according to the band.  As for the lyrics – there aren’t any.  A female chorus delivers hearty wordless incantations throughout the record, which at times reminded me of indigenous spiritual dances from anywhere from the great plains of America to the Australian Outback.  The instrumental sound – that unforgettable sound – is both unworldly and all-worldly.  The band intentionally blends and scatters influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean until you can’t tell exactly what or where, only that the result is utterly thunderous.  Imagine a soundtrack for a belly dancer on a surfboard noshing on a shawarma on the way to a Romany wedding celebration in the Sahara and you might be part of the way there.


The rock part of this conglomeration is solid and tight AF.  The guitarists, bass player and drummer are all supremely talented.  There are some lengthy cuts such as “The Blood of the Lamb” and “Deneb” where they stretch out and really show what they can do.  Adding in that female chorus over the top creates a dizzying rhythmic and spiritual experience where a god is staring down over a journey through shifting desert sands (on a bicycle!).


Closer “Simorgh” lifts things to a climactic level.  Horns and strings sail in and out.  All the elements of the band are in play, only magnified – the hypnotic, swirling, intoxicating, exotic international rhythms and tonalities, the chorus, and most of all, the guitars.  “Simorgh” will be on heavy rotation hereabouts for a long time to come.


The Cyclist Conspiracy creates a heady blend of eastern flavoured rock that’s both fresh and irresistible.  It’s also, by the way, fantastic music for working out, inspiring you to take that next hill or lift that weight.  They must be an incredible live act; hopefully they’ll venture west one of these days.


(Mark Feingold)


Fruits de Mer Records / Inflatable Tarmac records edition of 300 pink vinyl copies, alsoavailable on CD from  moongoosecult.bandcamp.com

Welsh band Moon Goose have just released their fourth long playing record, following on from LaNuit in 2022. Murmurations was recorded at Twin Peaks studio in LLandidrod and produced by Adam Fuest.

I’ve listened to these eight tracks plenty of times since the start of the year and it is a pretty decent album, The band consists( so I far as I am aware of) of Des Davies on guitar, Antoine Mouquod on drums, Rob Robinson on bass, Ade Williams on guitar,plus they also utilise Leon Johnson when recording at the Barn studios and may well have him on board, however member details have been hard to find, they hail from Hay On Wye on the Welsh borders and travel around the world in their flying moon van. The geese specialize in a sound which is a kind of hybrid taking in space rock, Kraut rock, surf and prog, the songs are mainly instrumental and they like cheese.

Things kick off with a scathing song entitled ‘2023 AD’, in which they take a look at modern culture filtered through their unique brand of knowing humour, it sounds a bit like Sleaford Mods covering ‘Parklife’, it’s a terrific opening song which given enough airplay could almost be hit, however it’s not PC enough, too anti woke and would require editing so as not to offend snowflakes, they also get quite inventive with Portuguese tarts. Up next is a great instrumental, which I hope is not true ‘Last Flight Of The Moon Goose’.

I like cheese and it appears that they do too; as they featured an instrumental entitled ‘LeComte’ on their debut album, this one features the pungent ‘Cheese Lens’, another excellent  instrumental with plenty of twists and turns along the way, the group displaying a kind of tight intuition that is worthy of a murmuration, plenty of keyboard squiggles, fat bass, wah-wah and laser electric guitars.  The band follows these two with a song in two parts ‘Rhesus David’, thefirst part being instrumental, things then morph into a strange, bitter tale of suburbia and genetics.

‘Cloud Of Eyeballs’ appears next, it starts off in a grungy style, I’ve no idea what they are on about here, but the song has some fine riffage throughout. Another terrific instrumental arrives in the form of ‘Compressed Hairstyles Of The New Settlers’, (don’t ask!), here the drummer works his socks off and will definitely require a lie down after performing it, it has a luminous quality and motors along quite nicely, with plenty of surfedelic, electric guitar playing and keyboard whooshes, reminding me of Tim Blake’s synthesizer work.

Up next we have another fine instrumental song with, ‘Geese In A Dinghy ‘, again it is driven along fairly frantically by the rhythm section, particularly by the seemingly superhuman drummer, with more of that nice surfedelic electric guitar to the fore, which they often invest their songs with. Things slow down a bit for the final song ‘Shisha’s Shanti’, a slow build instrumental number (all bar the odd bit of chanting) which swings along nicely. It all begs the question what is in that Welsh water? The album is due for release at the end of January, so get inquick should you want one.

(Andrew Young)


Album on Le Pop Club

Wheeldon, the “Parisian Englishman from Sheffield” has recorded nearly 20 albums in the past decade. Each one offers a unique taste of his Gene Clark-meets-Alex Chilton inspiration and for good reason. Most of them have been recorded with different bands/backing musicians. The same theme applies to his third “solo” album. The pseudonymous Living Paintings (Greg Ashley - Drums, Jach Ernest - Fiddle, Bootchy Temple - Bass, Handy Curse - Piano and Keyboards and producer Don Idiot - Lead Guitar) showed up at the recording studio (Télémaque in Caen) having never played or even rehearsed together before. Yet within a week, they had learned, arranged, and recorded the album and its invigorating spontaneity shines throughout.

     While John Lydon’s caterwauling shrieking throughout his PIL catalogue may immediately spring to mind once Wheeldon launches into the dramatic, emotionally draining ‘Stamping On The Daffodils,’ there’s a magnetic car-crash curiosity drawing you into his paean to a fading working class. Political themes continue to crop up on the nostalgic folk dirge ‘They’re Not Selling Flowers Around Here, Anymore’ with its Tom Verlaine-like melancholia regretting the changing neighbourhood, while the marching rhythm and funereal trawl through ‘Black Madonna’ uses that familiar icon to question civil rights violations in an age of religious and ethnic uncertainty.

     I hear a bit of a paisley underground groove in ‘Isaak’ that reminded me of Green On Red and the country weeper ‘Oh, Surprise’ satisfies my soulful Alex Chilton itch, with Ernest’s waltzing fiddle adding the right ambiance. ‘As You Stood Before The Mountain’ has a playful, strolling arrangement that lightens the emotional weight of Wheeldon’s personal message/lyrics and ‘Weeping Willow’ is anything but - an actual toe-tapper disguising a sentimental plea to save a difficult relationship: ”I hope we make it this time.” And the proverbial shoe is replaced with a piano on the title track, a gentle warning in the global warming battle that shows us where Wheeldon stands.

     Wheeldon and the band will be touring later this year, so you can experience the existential angst in all its glory in person. Unlike that shoe and the Firesign Theatre’s electrician, that piano dangling from Damocles’ sword may be closer than you think, and Wheeldon & co. are doing their best to keep us around a few more years.

(Jeff Penczak)


(LP, Cassette, Digital on Leaving Records)


This is another warm, thoughtful ambient music album from Green-House.  Originally the project of LA multi-instrumentalist Olive Ardizoni, they’re now a duo, officially including Michael Flanagan.  He had contributed keyboards and artwork to their previous releases, as with this one, and he now lives in the Green-House, too.  We loved Green-House’s previous releases, the 2020 EP Six Songs for Invisible Gardens, and the 2021 LP Music for Living Spaces.  Do you notice a theme here with the titles?  They’re all Something for Someplace where things live.  That’s purely intentional.  They call their style eco-ambient, and they have that streetcorner firmly covered.


Their music sounds much like offerings from Mort Garson, including his 1976 classic Mother Earth’s Plantasia.  That they both deal with similar subject matter gives them even more in common.  I feel Green-House’s music could also easily reside on Clay Pipe Music; it has a similar feel to their releases.  It contains gentle, soothing synths that always sound warm and uplifting, combined with traditional instruments such as flutes, pipes, and both acoustic and electric pianos, as well as found sounds.  Some have also rightly compared their music to that of Japanese ambient artists.  I feel like their music could be one of those things they’d recommend playing to babies still in the womb.


I mentioned their obvious connection to plants, but there is an important distinction.  As LA dwellers, Green-House’s music is more specifically about cultivating plants in an urban environment, and the nurturing it provides to a living space otherwise full of hard, straight lines and devoid of chlorophyll.  This all could’ve easily been New Age dross.  But in Green-House’s dirt-stained hands and green thumb, the tracks are positive, lovely and full of melody.  One can easily fill in details with their imagination such as trilling birds, pollinating insects and buds slowly unfolding.  Green-House’s music is a safe refuge, an escape from the chaos of the world outside to the peaceful world of flowers and greenery.


There are too many highlights to list, but what’s common are both upward and downward arpeggiating synth melodies, and musical phrases that bend, swoop and swirl around.  They manage to layer the shimmering sound while still giving it lots of space to breathe.  And there are occasional reminders that there are people here, such as the broad exhalations in “Lichen Maps.”


There are few things more comforting than “Everything is Okay,” which enfolds you in its arms in one long, soft embrace.  A curious thing happened while I was listening.  At the end of the track are the only words of the album, a telephone voicemail from Ardizoni’s mother: “Hey, honey, it’s me.  I thought I would say hello.  We were going to talk this weekend.  We didn’t get a chance.  Maybe later on.  But I didn’t want you to think that our conversation you wanted to talk about wasn’t important, because you are the most important.  All right, love you, bye.”  This segues almost immediately into the next and final track.  As I wasn’t paying attention at first, I thought the phone message was part of that next track.  When I checked, its title was “Many Years Later,” and is reflective and sorrowful.  So, I had thought the voicemail led off that track, rendering it not the cherry on top of the bursting-with-love “Everything is Okay,” but instead the intro to the melancholy “Many Years Later,” and thus a tear-stained memory instead of caring support.  Context is everything, isn’t it?


Each of Green-House’s releases are full of the glowing wonder and beauty of plants, the inner joy and the feeling of inner peace from growing and caring for them.  Their music, like the plants, is a sanctuary from the harsh world just outside.  It makes you say, as the record ends, ‘please, one more song like this before I have to go back out there.’


(Mark Feingold)


( CD/DL     Fenny Compton (bandcamp.com) )

Hats off to whoever thought of this rather excellent collection that gathers together the tunes from the four lathe-cut singles originally released on Future Grave / Reverb Worship (There are still limited copies of the last one available),  the music created by Terrascope stalwart Alan Davidson and the mysterious Grey Malkin, a name that appears all over the musical landscape, or so it seems.

    Taking ghost stories and supernatural tales as their theme each of the eleven tracks creates atmosphere and tension whilst remaining both melodic and listenable, the musicians using a wide range of electronic and acoustic instruments that create a wonderfully wide-ranging sonic landscape.

    As well as the previously released tracks the collection is bookended by two new songs, the first of which, “Mess John” is a delicate, rippling tune with whistles, xylophone and spoken word  adding plenty of atmosphere to the sad tale. Just as melancholy, “Babby's Ghost” is a twinkle of notes over washes of Mellotron, the music matching the emotion of the words, something that is evident throughout the album.

    Moving on, the mellotron leads the way through the sombre “An Encounter By Moonlight” the track sounding like a lost acid folk classic, whilst “The Melancholy Ghost of Powis House” has a light, jolly tone that belies its lyrics.

   Taking a different path, “Willow Do Walk”, has a shimmering , haunted presence, with plenty of effects added to the instruments, ghostly noises and a supernatural choir also playing their part in a tune that finally dissolves in a distorted drone.

    With plenty to enjoy within every track it is a bittersweet moment when you arrive at “We Are All Ghosts” the final track and another new song that features a more traditional folk ambience, with some fine Violin (I Think) skittering through the tune dancing over drone and melody to excellent effect, a piece easy to get lost in, especially when the supernatural choir returns, a perfect closing song that sums up all that has gone before it and leaves you wanting more. I believe the CDs are selling like those proverbial oatcakes, so don't hesitate too long.

(Simon Lewis)

DEAN McPHEE – ASTRAL GOLD  (LP on Bass Ritual)

I’ve enjoyed following Dean McPhee’s music as it has evolved and finessed into the thing of beauty it is today. Whether on disc or playing often tiny intimate gigs in and around West Yorkshire, and increasingly beyond, Dean has the ability to stop any background chattering and transform the room into a place for the imagination to awaken for a precious hour or so.

Astral Gold is a compilation of sorts as it includes a mixture of new and previously released material only available on limited run singles but it hangs together so well, beautifully conceived as a record thematically and sonically. It continues the themes and atmosphere of Dean’s previous releases and as ever this is not just instrumental music for its own sake but has a story behind every track based on strange tales, Pennine folklore and sometimes simply painting a musical picture inspired by personal thoughts on the cosmos or landscape. It’s an album of moods, some stark, grainy and monochrome but never cold and imagination where the listener can stargaze or find themselves in the raw beauty of the Pennines or indeed have a little chuckle about alien visits to West Yorkshire whilst recognising the truth at the centre of the tale when we look at the world today. It’s also a record of layers and textures where rich melodies, subtly repeating riffs, touches of dissonance and environmental sounds work together to create an intoxicating and very visual soundscape that is both ancient and modern. Dean’s music is part of the current rich and diverse South Pennine musical landscape where others such as Craven Faults take this approach from a more analogue Kosmische informed perspective and the wonderful Folklore Tapes label which dives deep into local tales and traditions with the music of Dean and other fellow South Pennine musical travellers both folk inspired and more experimental.  

Opening tracks ‘Cosmos’ and ‘Ether’ previously formed a limited run single and instantly create the mood. Soaring, melodic solo guitar, occasional lonesome twangs and brooding repetitive rhythmic melodies combine beautifully as though Hank Marvin were jamming with Popol Vuh and John Martyn in the Echoplex years. ‘Neptune’ has a beautiful hypnotic feel where the Popol Vuh and Kosmische ambience are most pronounced and create a perfect stargazing soundtrack that is both blissful and cinematic. ‘Lunar Fire’ has a more ritualistic, gently percussive undertone with a lonesome windswept quality that is otherworldly harking back melodically to early music. I could almost hear early church music and imagine the melody played on a lute. ‘The Second Message’ has a quirky tale behind it – of an off duty policeman who claims to have a photo (very blurred) of an alien landing in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and who was taken onboard their ship to receive dire warnings of famine, war and environmental destruction. The second message that allegedly followed has never been told and clearly today’s governments didn’t get it either, or indeed the first message for that matter. It may be more Fortean Times than the Yorkshire Post as a story but a lovely spacey tune with occasional  ‘cosmic’ guitar effects gives it a respectable place in the stranger, more surreal corners of local folklore. The lengthy finale ‘The Sediment of Creation’ is the perfect ending to the record, taking themes and elements from previous pieces, extending and embedding them in a slow building, increasingly dense yet spacious sound that delivers a captivating melancholy.

This is a wonderful album of rich and engaging sound painting and musical storytelling, filled with mystery and imagination where space and wide open spaces bring star trek and indeed hill trek to the same page. The local and celestial come together in a beautifully evocative sound. If you are already familiar with Dean’s music you’ll love this evolution and refinement of his sound world. If you are a newcomer, prepare to be enchanted and stay for quite a while.

(Francis Comyn)


(Available on Career Records

This stop-gap EP introduces three exclusive new songs from Donovan’s Brain MK7 that will not appear on the forthcoming (Summer) full length. New drummer Joe Adragna joins the ever-evolving revolving lineup, bringing more than a drum kit and some cymbals to the party: he sings, he writes, he plays, he shoots, he scores! (Sorry, got a little excited there). The multi-talented Adregna has some big shoes to fill in previous kit-minder Ric Parnell (Atomic Rooster, Spinal Tap, the Deviants) who left for the great gig in the sky two years ago. Thankfully through the miracle of tape Parnell appears on one of the tracks and more is yet to come from this talented and dearly-missed stick-twiddler.

     The agitated grey matter jumps out of your speaker with the pummeling crunch of ‘I Don’t Wanna Anymore’ (the one featuring Ric Parnell on drums). Ostensibly about a (fictitious/generic?) band-mate that goes into toxic meltdown, I hear more than a passing reference to the rolling bassline in Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’ driving the bus. The oft-told tale of disgruntled band members is a popular lyrical trope from Lennon’s ‘How Do You Sleep’ to Felt’s ‘Ballad Of The Band’ and the Brain’s addition to the canon is another surefire killer.

     ‘Pat Robertson, Meet The Devil’ is part molasses-dripping psychedelia and part giddy-up cowpoke gallop and Adragna’s ‘Bummer Bob’ drops some groovy Beach Boys vibes into a disconcerting tale of a member’s downward spiral in a murderous cult. Grisly subject matter handled adroitly by the Brain’s penchant for marrying rough-edged lyrics to a snappy pop tune with a tough spine holding it all together.

     A fine introduction to the new lineup - we look forward to the further fruits of their activities this summer.

(Jeff Penczak)