Melting Euphoria - "Inside the Gardens of the Mind"
(Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid CLP 0089, 1997)
From Aural Innovations #2 (April 1998)
If you were to dub this band the 'American Ozric Tentacles,' you wouldn't be too far off the mark. Hailing from San Francisco, a place not unfamiliar with psychedelic music of course, this quintet produces the same sort of dominantly-electronic instrumental space rock that we're starting to see quite a lot of these days. While I have no objection to this trend necessarily, the question is whether each of these artists have something unique to say. And in this aspect, I find Melting Euphoria a bit lacking, at least lately.
Inside The Gardens is the band's third release with wide distribution, and treads on similar ground as before. However, the space whisper vocals of the superior Upon the Solar Winds are noticeably absent, and instead the band creates their mood music with the usual swirling synths and effects-laden guitar but no vocal accompaniment. The same cast of characters appear on this album, except that newcomer Bobby Clic supplants DeFM on guitar (who oddly performs here also, but as a guest). Highlights from the 50-plus minutes include the three-phase 'Amplified Ohm,' in which synth master Zero produces some very cool flute-like sounds, and the finale 'Celestial Hysteria,' with a fast-paced riff reminiscent of Gong's 'Master Builder.' The track 'Arwr Rhithwelediad' is either based on a Welsh folk song, or their typewriter got stuck. Whatever the case, it's a pleasant enough piece with some acoustic guitar and extra-spacey effects.
The downside is that too many of the tracks seem like great intro's that never make it to the actual song. They've got all the makings of a fine space orchestra, but they could use the input of a songwriter who could put purpose to style. It's too soon to give up on Melting Euphoria, but I'd like to see a bit more time spent on composition for their next one.
Reviewed by Keith Henderson