The Magical Mystery Psychout ...A Tribute to The Beatles (Cleopatra Records, 2016)
Roll up! Roll up for the magical mystery tour! Step right this way! … hear twelve up and coming psychedelic bands trip the light fantastic and dare to cover The Beatles’ 1967 sensational Magical Mystery Tour. Well that’s not quite right, there are twelve bands covering songs from The Beatles hazy psychedelic past, and some of the songs are taken from that relentless album, though it is not a cover of the album proper.
All and all the bands do create a sonic atmosphere that will delight your wayward ears with rather good renditions of The Beatles material they’ve chosen to cover. While none of the songs venture far off the map, the construct in which they each develop their chosen material sounds sharp crisp and in the moment, a reflection of today’s musical attitudes from a grouping of artists who’s parents might not have walked the planet when The Beatles were painting the world with a spectrum of sound and colour that today still stands as a beacon for any wishing to strap on a guitar or pick up a microphone.
The Blank Tapes have one of the most splintering versions of “The Word Love”, turning it into a psych blues number that will rock you back and set you right with the world. Other startling additions include “Tomorrow Never Knows”, by Electric Moon, The Vacant Lots “Julia”, and “Cry Baby Cry” by Quilt. Then there's the Underground Youth's take on “Come Together”, a song that will haunt your speakers, dripping like a bottle of indigo ink spilling across your table in slow motion. The weakest track on the album has to belong to Strangers Family Band who cover “Sun King” with an experimental jazz outlook that is annoying pretentious noisy and uncomfortable. The Ruby Suns, and their version of “Martha My Dear”, run a close second with a track that sounds as if it’s been clipped together from dozens of takes, and entirely overly produced … though KVD do an ambitious off the wall take of “Taxman”, slowing the song down to a hypnotic crawl and lacing it together with an etherial energy that absolutely allows the number to blossom with shivering textures.
All and all, Cleopatra Records have released a cohesive outing that’s both mesmerizing and substantial, intoxicating and eroticly delightful … a record that’s worth the ride and then some.
*** And Just for fun, the album cover is laced with Beatle references, including:
-The Eyes for “Lucy In The Sky”.
-The Egg for the line “I am the Eggman ...” from “I Am The Walrus”.
-The heart on the end of the cain for “All You Need Is Love”.
-The Apple for Apple Records.
-The Black Bird for the song “Blackbird”.
-The Blue Jay's head on the cane for “Blue Jay Way”.
-The Walrus for the song “I Am The Walrus”.
-The Walrus itself with it's many arms, symbolizing the many armed Buddha and representing their time spent studying Transcendental Meditation.
-The Sitar for George Harrison.
-The Peace Symbol because of the times from which The Beatles played.
-The hand giving the Peace Sign for Ringo, who has always done so.
-The the burning lamps symbolize the song “Inner Light”.
-And finally the heads of the Fab Four.
-And of course the whole setup, from the time they spent in India.
- Jenell Kesler
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