FAST CAMELS "The Magic Optician"
Neon Tetra Records tetra-009 2007

From Aural Innovations #36 (May 2007)

A '60s-styled Brit-psyche combo...from Britain!
The opening track is a slow heavy chug-riff that the light production doesn't quite hold up, but thereafter it's pretty much Barrett-era Floyd, Tomorrow, Pretty Things and such. The title-track is a sure thing about a mysterious "garden-gnome" who pulls eye-charts, expressed by catchy Syd-style croon and backing-"aaahhhh"s. The song-writing team of guitarists Sturgeon and O'connor is impressive, the rhythm-section of Vallely and Mors solid. "Comforting Things" is a sad song with nice guitar effects for atmosphere, but this isn't exactly space-rock, so prepare to stay fairly rooted. And prepare also for a few expendables. As is typical, along with the more benificent characters, you get some real villains, too, such as the decidedly unsavory "Big Daddy Smyth", "he's gonna fuck your wife and fuck up your life...", etc. The closing trio of tunes is strong: "Gone" is a brief sweet reverie of times gone by, followed by the "Nobgoblin" and closing with another charac ter-piece, the excellent "Der Nazi Tea", the absurd life of Henry being vaguely remeniscent of Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim...also dig the "that cat's at it again" outro. There ya go...some nice straight-forward melodies, a couple great tunes, and lacking in the pretentious quirkiness (kinda like planned spontaneity) that some such retro bands tend to display.

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Reviewed by Chuck

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