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V/A - Pull Up The Paisley Covers

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Artist: V/A

Album: Pull Up The Paisley Covers

Label: Æther-Or

Review date: Jun. 17, 2003

'It's your own trip...So be my guest.'

Psyche is next. After the garage revival, then psyche. This is how conventional wisdom has it. Where the White Stripes rose to international prominence on the wings of past blues legends and a stripped-down "garage" sound, there's someone ready to get a Rolling Stone cover with a Rolling Stones cover. Or so it seems.

Psyche has never really left us, though. Even disparate elements like Sabbath, Disco and Britpop each had fantastic psyche reveries. The ubiquity of Hendrix and Airplane will always survive amidst the smoke of dorm hallways, and be pumped up with endless revival tours. Its legend will forever be held aloft by our cultural overlords, the Baby Boomers. And while Rolling Stone may publish pictures of faux rock stars sitting in front of bongs, a tab of acid on the tongue just doesn’t seem as glamorous as it once was.

For one, the acid isn't as good.

To Stan Denski, the midland Æther-Or wizard and record guru, pure psyche music is as essential as a genre gets. There's still an infatuation with losing yourself in washes of manic sound, as Acid Mother's Temple and Elephant 6 can attest. Like garage, the genre populated globally. Collectors may forever rummage for that 75-run test pressing of Raspberry Qumqat.

Pull Up The Paisley Covers, Æther-Or's new collection of psyche music, is a long look backwards. Its passionate packaging and projection-based artwork is a pretty good indication of what is inside. Denski is the Louis Lamour of liner notes, too. Our booklet is filled to the brim with a comprehensive 9pt Gill Sans overview of the compilation

Bevis Frond turns in their usual rapturous psyche simulacrum, true to their monumental and continuous form. The Normandy-based Murder In The Cathedral churns the Who's "The Good's Gone" into a flakey, loose charm. Israel's RockFour is another cover: "Song From The Sea" from the $3,000 Churchills LP (Denski loves to talk about the collectible value of rare psyche).

Sweden's Peter Scion's phlanged vocal treatment will weird you out for sure. His "Butterfly" is a cover of some band called The Fox. Dig that up, Josh Davis (here's a hint: it's off the album For Fox's Sake). Do they have volcanoes in Sweden? I imagine they have some pretty rad caves, though. Spooky stuff all the same.

What's deceptive about Æther's slogan ("Psychedelic Music For The New Millennium"), though, is the inclusion of famous psyche cover tracks – many of which do not seem necessary. Sunseri's cover of the Doors’ "Peace Frog" starts our Omnibus trip off rather bumpily. Psychedelic patricians Abunai! (Denski calls them "post-punk") does the Stones' "Citadel" very true to the original. San Fransisco's Mushroom covers San Francisco's Jefferson Airplane on "You're Only Pretty As You Feel." That's clever, but not essential.

Japan's Kaminumada Yohji is what psyche needs more of. Delicate, deceptively simple solo guitar, not unlike Durutti Column, rounds out a pretty uneven compilation. As we learn in Denski's lengthy liner composition, Yohji drew inspiration from Comus. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Psychedelia is not the most consistent genre. Perhaps its legacy is its biggest weakness, which would explain some of Pull Up the Paisley Covers. Only it's most strident modern patrons (Neutral Milk Hotel, the Verve, Thomas Bangalter, etc.) are capable of reinvention. Otherwise, we're counting on genuinely loving imitators to pick up its well-worn mantle. The devotion to past glories continues to affect the genre just south of reemergence. As a result, its newness is continually undermined.

So go ahead, take the brown acid. After all, what have you got to lose?

By David Day

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