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Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisted

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Artist: Simply Saucer

Album: Cyborgs Revisted

Label: Sonic Unyon

Review date: Aug. 6, 2003

A Northern Psych-Out

It’s not just the music that fascinates me about rare psych/prog/punk reissues – it’s the singular logic driving their existence. The artifact in question is usually justified as an important link in a historical chain, by absurd comparisons, or best of all, local pride. While the first two provide valid reasons why veteran Canadian indie label Sonic Unyon decided to make Simply Saucer one of the few reissues in their primarily contemporary catalogue, it’s really the third that explains Cyborgs Revisited. If it weren’t for the various inferiority complexes at work here, Simply Saucer would have remained as well-known to U.S. audiences as those other massively influential Canadian rock sensations, Glass Tiger and Platinum Blonde.

This material has seen the light of day several times before: in the late 1970s, when it was recorded; in 1989, when it was reissued on Mole Records as Cyborgs Revisited (even though it was never officially issued, save for the She’s A Dog 7”); and when it was given a larger and more widely available pressing later that year by Cargo Records. There are plenty of fawning quotes about this band floating around in the ether, most of which appear on the sleeve of the Sonic Unyon package. Everybody from the NME to Byron Coley show some love for these guys, with Alternative Press going so far as to call the album “The Greatest Canadian Record Ever”. What, no Loverboy?

So with all this in mind, it’s a bit of a shock when you discover that the Simply Saucer boys would give The Stooges a run for their money in the stupid department. If these guys were pretending to be thugs, they were doing a bang-up job – it takes a special kind of person to write a line like “let me sleep inside of your cage / I want to feel your sexual rage”, and an extremely special one to deliver it like they really mean it. Until they get to the spacey analog keyboard bits that are obviously the part that the NME types are into, Simply Saucer make The New York Dolls look like rocket scientists. And unlike The Stooges or The Dolls or even Rocket From The Tomb, their stupidity isn’t all that fun to listen to. When they actually do get to the aforementioned spacey bits, it’s actually a lot of fun, and they do credible impressions of the Velvets and early Floyd. Still, no matter how much I listen to the album itself, I can’t say that their moron tendencies take on any extra charm. Some bands are mindless bubblegum fun, and some are just mindless. Tack on some extra bootleg material of such abominable quality that it should have been left on whatever cutting room floor it was rescued from, and you have Another Great Proto-Punk/Psych Reissue.

By Dave Morris

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