Legendary Pink Dots - "A Perfect Mystery"
(Beta-Lactam Ring Records 2001, toxin050, 2-LP's, original released on CD 2000 by Soleilmoon, CAD 11)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
I've seen the Legendary Pink Dots in concert twice and have heard live recordings, but this is the first studio album I've heard. Originally released by Soleilmoon in 2000, several of these songs sound familiar, which makes sense as this was the album they were surely supporting when I saw them perform in 2000. The Beta-Lactam release of the CD is a 2-LP set housed in a beautiful gatefold jacket, and includes an entire side (one lengthy track) not on the original CD. The Pink Dots web site discography also notes that the vinyl has different mixes of the tracks.
Of the standard Pink Dots styled songs, "Lent", "Pain Bubbles", and "Condition Green" are my favorites. I'm almost certain "Lent" is the song they opened the show with when I last saw them in 2000. I really like the combination of droning ethereal electronics, sax, Martijn de Kleer's guitar, and Ka-Spel's haunting voice. de Kleer has a guitar style that at times reminds me of Dave Gilmour. The song is slow paced but there's a tremendous tension that builds throughout, the electronics and guitar giving a space rock edge to the music. "Pain Bubbles" is similar and culminates in an intense space jam and some more tasty guitar from de Kleer. "Condition Green" is a nice song with a floating psychedelic atmosphere. Acoustic guitar, wah'd electric guitar, flute and bubbly space synths make for a magic carpet ride backing to Ka-Spel's vocals. "When Lenny Meets Lorca" is a 60's pop-psych sounding tune with steady dancey percussion and razor sharp guitar attacks, phased pulsating drones, bubbling space synths, and a flute melody that gives an extra psychedelic kick to the music. A little different but worthy of mention is "Skeltzer Speltzer", a whimsical song that sounds like an avant-garde Celtic pub tune.
But the real earcandy for space rock fans is "Godless" and "Premonition 25". "Godless" is a lengthy psychedelic voyage with poetic Daevid Allen styled delivery from Ka-Spel. It includes some of the freakier, and more overtly space rock, music heard on this set and is definitely one of the better headphone tracks. Love those pulsating beats, phased drones, raga styled acoustic music, and swirling electronics. "Premonition 25" is the side long bonus track and showcases the more experimental side of the Pink Dots. It's a Revolution #9 styled freakout journey with lots of oddball voice and sound samples, loops, and space electronics that are both collage styled aggressive and floating ambient. This one's for the dosed audience.
It wasn't lost on me that the Legendary Pink Dots pretty well packed the house both times I saw them live. Probably the best crowds I've seen for a band that plays adventurous music that is often in the space rock realm. The band have a knack for good songwriting which may attract the larger audience, and I was impressed with the combination of solid songs and spacey, often experimental, music. I'll have to check out more of their studio releases.
For more information you can visit the Legendary Pink Dots web site at: http://brainwashed.com/lpd/.
A Perfect Mystery is distributed by Beta-Lactam Ring Records. You can visit their web site at: http://www.blrrecords.com/.
Contact via snail mail c/o Beta-Lactam Ring Records; PO Box 6715; Portland, OR 97228-6715.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz