From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)
Mooch - "1967 ½" (Ambientlive Records 2008, ALR3033, CD & CD/DVD editions)
If Dr. Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band was a departure for Mooch (see AI #37), 1967 ½ represents a whole new era. The first in a planned "sixties" series, the spirit of the summer of love is alive and well both musically and lyrically, but is by no means a mere retro experience. Rather, the album is a continuation of the Dr Silbury story where the good Dr has hooked up the external force oscillator of his quantum jukebox to its calendar in order to travel to the year 1967½, where he experienced an alternate Summer Of Love.
Like Dr. Silbury, 1967 ½ features several guests, including Don Falcone, Karen Anderson, Pete Wyer (from the early Mooch days), Cyndee Lee Rule, and Chris Gill handles all the vocals. Among the highlights is "The Ice Cream Song", a psychedelic tune with a Canterbury-ish flavor. I've read some other reviews of the album and I'm the only one that's mentioned this, so it could be my sense of perception. Maybe it's Chris Gill's vocals, which are similar to Richard Sinclair. In any event, it's an excellent song. "English Wisdom" is another song that struck me as having this Canterbury feel, and also includes tasty licks from Cyndee Lee Rule's always welcome Viper violin.
Syd-era Pink Floyd, The Beatles, various San Francisco bands from the day, and The Dukes of Stratosphere (an earlier revisit to the 60s done up wonderfully by XTC) are all in evidence throughout the album. "Truth Fairy" has some tasty instrumental interludes with freaky efx reminiscent of Pink Floyd and the Dukes, and what sounds like psychedelic harmonica. "Sylvester the Protester" combines a Syd Barrett feel with The Beatles at their most psychedelic. Dig that freaky organ/guitar combo at the end. "Wouldn't It Be Good" features trippy sitar and looped bits and mellotronic backdrops. "In Time" is the heaviest rocking song of the set, with liquid guitar supplementing a driving organ. "Diamond Cutter" is a bouncy rocker with classic 60s organ. And "Early Morning" is a bit different, utilizing ethnic stylings á la Steve's Blue Lilly Commission project as the foundation for a psychedelic song. Tablas, horns, sitar drones… very very cool.
There are 11 songs on the CD only version. If you get the CD+DVD combo (which I've not seen) you get an additional song, videos for some of the songs, original versions of Paul Rowley's songs, a filmed interview with Paul, a video about Haight Street, and various slideshows. One reviewer commented that not since the Dukes of Stratosphere has this period of the 60s been resurrected so well, and I'm inclined to agree. Outstanding songs, execution and production. I'll be looking forward to the next in the series.
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