Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love Is Like Oxygen

ADRIAN SHAW & ROD GOODWAY – “Oxygen Thieves” CD ’09 (September Gurls, Eng) – Well, to wildly paraphrase Three Dog Night, I have been to England. And I kinda like The Beatles. See, the ladies are insane…. Ok, well right, who doesn’t like The Beatles then, right? From their mop-top beginnings to the hyper-creative albeit fractured existence of “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be,” the Fab Four were just that. Not that I don’t love The Stones but their once-in-art-school-now-badass-chic always came up short to J, P, G & R who were an authentically roughneck bunch that honed nicely into a 20th Century icon.

With all that, I think Messr.’s SHAW & GOODWAY (of Bevis Frond and a multitude other UK psych legends) were no different from the rest of the rock & roll world in following The Beatles’ illustrious wake. The difference is, this pair have done one of the best jobs I’ve ever heard in gleaning their essence without lapsing into musical ape-ism. The period mostly on note, I believe is that magical one between “Revolver” and the “…Mystery Tour.” Right from the git-go, “Coloured Rain” positively comes alive with a wonderful blend of psych, pop and progressive elements, all distilled into 3:46 of gold through musical alchemy. It’s like “Tomorrow Never Knows” channeled through 2009. Elsewhere, the duo (GOODWAY – vocals, lyrics; SHAW – all instruments, music) stir up a swirling, trippy and catchy ambrosia in the form of “Stranger Things, the title cut and the “Grapevine” groove and modern humor of “Spammed Man.” Not content to be harnessed by the 3-minute radio formula, ROD & ADE often stretch things out to the 5 ½ - 6 minute mark but in keeping that as the max, none of the songs come close to dragging. What’s gotta be my fave though, comes 4 tracks in, in the form of “Dog Fight.” While not a total lift, this one shares a snatch of melody with one of the greatest pop/metal songs of all time, Crack The Sky’s “Hot Razors In My Heart” and thereby has endeared itself to me forever. The unpolished “real” production here is only the icing on the cake.

All in all, “Oxygen Thieves” has been a real surprise to me since it slid unceremoniously into my mailbox. More than that, it’s one of the most memorable and original albums in recent months. Well, I have been to England. And I kinda like ADRIAN SHAW & ROD GOODWAY. Stealing My Ears



Michael said...

Great to hear this is a good 'un, but I shoulda guessed as much - as teenagers waaaay back in '68, this pair helped create an actual lost psych-pop classic album under the moniker J.P. SUNSHINE (check it out at http://www.achingcellar.co.uk/pages/SET02/jp.htm).

Must search this out, and quick. Thanks Ray!

raysrealm said...

Yeah, you gotta get this one, man!