=  June 2024 =  
Thos. Greenwood & the Talismans
Brown Acid comp














 
 
 
 
 
 

THOMAS GREENWOOD AND THE TALISMANS - ATES

(LP, Digital on Subsound Records (Europe), Echodelick Records (US))

 

This record is a very enjoyable brand of accessible, melodic psych rock/pop.  Thomas Mascheroni, aka Thomas Greenwood, hails from Bergamo, Italy, which also happens to be the home of Terrascope favorites Buck Curran and Adele H.  The emphasis here is on songwriting; all eight tracks herein have catchy tunes and fine vocals by Greenwood.  The songs are tinged with psychedelia, but it’s not overpowering.  There are very few guitar solos or extended synth passages, just quality songs.

 

That isn’t to say the band doesn’t have chops.  Greenwood (guitars, vocals) and his Talismans - Cristian Bona (bass) and Lorenzo Zenk (drums) - are a tight, proficient squad.  They play with an economy of style, and the production values like lots of reverb expand the trio’s performances to fill the soundspace.

The playing can occasionally get a little heavier and riffnocentric (just made up that term), such as on “Sleepwalker,” “Sunhouse” and “Crack,” but most of the tracks are mid-tempo and well-balanced between light and heavy.

 

There’s a concept to the album.  Ates is a fictitious hidden city buried beneath the mountains of Turkey.  In the story, it’s considered a mystical locale where legend has it people found refuge in the past from environmental catastrophes.  The only songs which have a vaguely Anatolian style are the psychedelic instrumental “The Road to Ates” and portions of “Crack.”  The rest of the tracks are more typical western rock oriented.

 

Album closer “Crack” is the heaviest track, a nice piece of blues rock that may get you playing air guitar along with Greenwood.  The excellent cover art depicting a mountain range in purplish-red hues has a worn quality to it – what did they used to call jeans intentionally made to look threadbare and beat up – distressed?  Recorded in what was once a barn near Lake Iseo east of Bergamo, Ates is impressive song-oriented album-rock done in a universally appealing style.  More please.

 

(Mark Feingold)



VARIOUS ARTISTS – BROWN ACID - THE EIGHTEENTH TRIP

(LP, CD, Digital on RidingEasy Records)

 

Those Brown Acid dudes from RidingEasy are back at it.  That would be Daniel Hall and Lance Barresi, your curators for this living museum of mostly early Seventies proto-metal/heavy psych they call ‘Heavy Rock from the Underground Comedown.’  How they’ve managed to fill 18 volumes and counting of one-hit – or make that zero hit – wonders of premium bummer Rawk is anyone’s guess.  But the well hasn’t run dry yet, and judging by this collection, we’re not into the dregs either.

 

I’ll just hit some of the highlights here.  Leading off is St. Louis’s Back Jack, with “Bridge Waters Dynamite” from 1974.  Coming on something like a head-on collision between Grand Funk Railroad and Aerosmith from that period, it’s a head-bobbing distorted concoction starting with those beloved kick-off lyrics of yore, ‘people, are you ready?’  Back Jack might as well be saying that to you good listeners about Brown Acid The Eighteenth Trip.

 

The Smokin’ Buku Band proves with “Hot Love” that apparently you can’t get too shameless trying to sound like Led Zeppelin.  Initially a big riff on “Communication Breakdown,” the ditty goes on to be a cornucopia of Zep references.  Atlantis’s “Moby Shark” is almost a novelty song about everybody’s favorite blockbuster shark movie from 1975.  I’ve gotta admit, it would be fun to dance to.  The Chicago Triangle’s “Ripped Off” is a little like a Brown Acidified version of Van Halen from when the latter was playing for beer and weed in backyard parties.

 

If The Smokin’ Buku Band brazenly channeled Led Zeppelin on Side One, Parchment Farm gives a similar treatment to James Gang on Side Two opener “Songs of the Dead” from 1971.  Still, the guitar playing on this track by Paul Cockrum is so simply blazing, it’s one of the album’s true gems.  The only ‘name’ band, if you could call it that, which I recognized from the collection was Cleveland’s The Damnation of Adam Blessing, here rechristened Glory in a later 1973 variant.  I’d always felt Damnation was one band who collectively had their shit together, and on “Nightmare,” they prove it.  This song’s got it all - rousing vocal harmonies, grinding Hammond, twin lead guitars, and a band that’s locked in, firing on all cylinders.  “Nightmare” is the album’s premiere standout track.

 

On 1968’s “Realize,” The Pawnbrokers, from Fargo, North Dakota, offer up a sound not too distant from what Messrs. Clapton, Bruce and Baker were conjuring up around that time.  Chicago’s Brothers of the Ghetto close out the set and bring on the funk rock with “Rockin’ Chair.”  It’s a hip-shaking groove with bouncy organ and a squalling guitar solo to get you moving.

 

The Brown Acid series is alive and well, and as long as RidingEasy continues dishing ‘em out, we’ll keep devouring them.  Who knew there were so many bands churning out quality greasy sleaze back then, one forgotten single at a time?  If you’re new to the series, brother you’ve got some catching up to do.  All others, dig this one herewith.

 

(Mark Feingold)