Census Of Hallucinations - "The 4th Dimension"
(Stone Premonitions Records 2001, SPCD-026)
From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
The incredibly prolific Census of Hallucinations have already returned with their fourth album in one and a half years, but this combined with running their own label doesn't seem to have hindered their creative energies too much. Since their first album, I've been a big fan and I'm glad I can finally have my say about them in a more official format: They are, after all, one of the most talented, creative, eclectic and versatile groups going right now. And one of the least known! The first "proper song" is the hysterical "Flight of the Cosmic Snot", combining a great lick of Tim's melodic guitar stylings with idiosyncratic sneezes, coughs and their recently-found penchant for odd primal animalistic noises, the sounds of which wonderously transcend sense. Oh, and I can't forget the silly weedly sped-up nonsensical vocalizations that appear midway, as well as some spacier, Gong-inspired guitar-work.
Immediately following is "Back Lash", with marching crunch-guitar and the eclectic voices of Tim and Terri-B. The song also shows their tendencies to follow the last word of a line with a matching sound-effect/sample--Zappa-esque even! "Carry an Attractive Crystal Door Knob Around with You" begins with a schizoid succession of various popular electronica styles before settling into a freaky space-trance rhythm, which they often do even more effectively than those artists that choose said genres as their full-time occupation. And of course the odd vocalizations, belching and pseudo-ralphing noises are present, as well as spacey synth bursts. "Garden on the Moon" is a classic psychedelic-fantasy CoH pop tune, with Tim doing his Daevid Allen-esque eccentric-Brit lead vocals. The chorus is a classic Tim/Terri-B duet. "Bloody Fuckin' Wanker" is a strange tune where Tim gets pretty pissed-off at some eagle, and the chorus participants cry out to God for help. By the end of the tune, it's unclear whether it's God or the eagle-devil who's a "bloody fuckin' wanker"; should get you thinking. "Nightclubbing" is an evil interlude about the nature of hell, though in this case hell takes form on earth as... you guessed it--a night club, where drunken demons slither about "seeking copulation". Another brief though fantastic song is "Give Us Back Our Heaven".
By now you may realize that their lyrical themes are heavily centered around technology/environmentalism, apocalypse/religion, conformity and alienation. You don't have to like lyrics to get into their music, but it might help. "Jangling Waters of the Tibetan Incontinent Old Bastard" is another bizarre interlude, featuring a daft old man apparently caught in a current of his own making, screaming pathetically "I'm wet, I say! I wet meself!" May get you thinking again, though if you come to any conclusions, please e-mail me. "Lack in Design" is another solid rock song, though quirky as ever, and laden with more great melodies and harmonies. "Judas Kiss" might be the album's best song. There's some swift programmed percussion, soulful back-up singing, an ascending keyboard line and maybe the most fantastic guitar-lick Tim has produced yet. Then comes the album's weakest track: "Know This" is a pure love-song, no doubt sincere, but lacking a solid Census stamp of identity. Perhaps they just had to get it out of their system. "Clone" is about mobile cell-phones, which are apparently as overused in England as in the States. The musical back-up is a sparse medieval-type flute melody. By the end the group looks again to the simplest of innocent fantasy in "The Elves" for an escape. CoH may be inherently post-modern but they're still Gaia traditionalists at heart. And they'll have a fifth album out soon!
For more information you can visit the Stone Premonitions web site at: http://www.stoneprem.co.uk.
Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact via snail mail at 271 Park Road; South Moor; Stanley; Co Durham; DH9 7AP; UK.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg