Spirits Burning - "Behold The Action Man"
(Floating World, VP493CD, Release date July 4, 2011)
From Aural Innovations #41 (October 2010)
Behold The Action Man is the tenth Spirits Burning album. Headed up by Don Falcone, the Spirits Burning project brings together contributions from a globe spanning collective of musicians to create music that covers all possible points on the Space-Progressive Rock axis.
Behold The Action Man is for me a special Spirits Burning release and one that I've been waiting on for a few years. The back of the CD describes it as A Space Rock journey into Film Noir… investigated by Don Falcone & Roger Neville-Neil (and all the other contributors). Roger Neville-Neil will be known to hardcore Hawkwind fans as the lyricist to the songs Needle Gun, The War I Survived and Heads, and he has also penned lyrics for Farflung. He is also the author of the Tales Of The Action Man series in Aural Innovations. Roger's Action Man "reports" are, at their core, concert reviews. But believe me when I say you have never read gig reviews like these before. Roger attends the shows as the Action Man. Gumshoe… detective… P.I…. he is an eagle eyed observer of his surroundings. Written in film noir style, the band performances are only one element of the stories. Roger observes and interacts with audience members, and the resulting reports of concerts by Motorhead, Blue Oyster Cult, Helios Creed, King Black Acid, The Warlocks, and a variety of local Portland, Oregon bands are presented in a style that I have to believe is unique to the world of concert reporting.
So I've known about this project for some time and am thrilled about Roger's collaboration with Don Falcone (the two first met at the Strange Daze 1999 Space Rock Festival in Ohio). Like all Spirits Burning albums, this one has a diverse cast of contributors, including Daevid Allen, Dave Adams (Osiris the Rebirth, Assassins of Silence), Albert Bouchard, Alan Davey, Kev Ellis (Dr Brown, Bubbledubble, Trev & Kev), Cyndee Lee Rule, Bridget Wishart, the members of Melodic Energy Commission, and many more.
Among the highlights on this 16 track album are Rendevous At Lava Lounge, a jazzy instrumental with classic prog mellotron and tribal drumming. Stand And Deliver is a cool rocker with vocals by Kev Ellis and Bridget Wishart. Listen close to hear Daevid Allen's killer ripping guitar leads. Don's vocals sound mightily similar to Robert Calvert on The Real Time. If you like Prog rock that swings, then you'll like Internal Detective. If Behold The Action Man were made into a movie, this would definitely be the theme song. Strafed By A UFO is one of the great Space-Rock Noir tracks of the set. HypnoSpy is a quietly spaced out instrumental, and Randy Raine-Reusch's Chinese Zither injects a cool oriental theme into the music. The Train is an excellent heavy rocker, augmented by spaced out synths and Cyndee Lee Rule's violin. Hemlock On The Rocks is like the Peter Gunn theme in space. Obelisk Of Fondue is a whimsical, fun song that I enjoyed, with lead vocals by Daevid Allen. Another favorite is This Mark You Make, with its nifty organ and tripped out guitar combo. Daevid goes into space on his "squeal" guitar. And Underworld Messiah is the drugged, droning, spaced out finale, with Cindy Lee Rule's Viper violin leading the way with a slowly singing melody. There seems to be no limit to the ideas Don can bring to the table, which for me keeps the Spirits Burning project continually fresh and exciting.
For more information you can visit the Spirits Burning web site at: http://www.spiritsburning.com or http://www.myspace.com/spiritsburning
Visit Roger Neville-Neil's Action Man page at: http://www.myspace.com/actionmanx
I strongly encourage you to check out Roger's Action Man reports published in Aural Innovations. CLICK HERE to access the Aural Innovations alpha index and scroll down to Action Man for links to all his reports.
Reviewed by Spaceman33