Brainbox – Dark Rose: their 45s (2012) review

June 18, 2013

Brainbox – Dark Rose: their 45s (2012) review

Brainbox “Dark Rose: their 45s” (Pseudonym, 2012)
persuasive buzz of ‘Down Man’ and the sublime rendering of Gershwin’s perennial ‘Summertime’ from their
eponymous debut are but two offerings that should make people acutely aware of
the greatness of Dutch masters Brainbox. And if you’ve never copped an ear to
the group before, then Pseudonym’s recent release of Dark Rose, a compilation
of their 45s and more… is the ideal place to begin.

Jan Akkerman’s (pre-Focus) fiery-riffing
that can be heard throughout the title cut is utterly superb, and will have you
heaping high praise onto these guys instantly; it appears twice too, once in
much shorter, delightfully crunchy demo form, while the other is a much
lengthier interpretation, but with less of that particularly primal, guttural
feel spewing from the guitar, that won’t be everyone’s cup of cocoa. There’s
also two variations of ‘Sea Of Delight’ on offer; the brevity, sharpness and
sustained vibrancy of the first is, for me anyway, one of the standout tracks
here, and indeed across the complete Brainbox canon.

Also highly impressive, and supremely
melodic is ‘The Flight’, a compelling, and quite astounding piece of work that
seems to want to push things – atypically for Brainbox – in the direction of
the later Byrds. While I’m not overly keen on a lot of McGuinn and Co’s
post-60s material, I love this track to bits and wanted to play it over and
over again when I first heard it, but didn’t cos I didn’t want to disturb the
record’s fine momentum. One of the group’s most thunderingly propulsive
prog-psych slanted outings is ‘Virgin’, built around a heady dose of whirlwind
guitar and battering-ram drums, of which the longer demo version has
ex-Dragonfly man Rudy De Queljoe, and Frans Smit duelling for all their worth;
not unlike the sounds frequently made by Can’s Michael Karoli and Jaki

There’s also a 23 minute plus demo of ‘Sea
Of Delight’ that can, and does, get a trifle boring sometimes, but, fear not,
as it also contains some seriously wiggy, and highly experimental passages. A
wonderful set of photographs has been included, and informative sleevenote
information flows from Mike Stax’s pen. Altogether this is a fantastic and very
welcome release that you’ll need if you want to experience more of the
Netherlands’ out-there sounds from the mad 60s and early 70s.

Review made by Lenny Helsing/2013
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