From The Vault: H.P. Lovecraft – “H.P. Lovecraft” (1967)
Drawing their name from the horror writer of short stories H.P. Lovecraft, the band laid waste to the psychedelic world with their song “The White Ship”, a song that along with Fever Tree’s “San Francisco Girl”, It’s A Beautiful Day’s “White Bird,” and the song “Square Room” by Them, sonically defined the musical underground of the mid 60’s, and without hesitation, created the chemistry that would go on to inspire the washed out hazy and dreamlike atmosphere that would be revisited by so many of the drug induced neo-psychedelic bands who would hover over the band’s footsteps nearly twenty years later.
The song “The White Ship” was a weighted wasted epic opus that seemed to last far longer than its six and a half minute tracking time, filled with interwoven guitars, was the center piece of the album, and inspired other bands to go on to created more lengthy dramatic numbers, not to mention that the song was directly inspired, if not lifted from the story “The White Ship” by the writer H.P. Lovecraft. Played to dancing candles and lamps covered with patterned scarves during those wondrous nights, it was a song that at the time sounded so eerie and fresh, lusciously filled with mysterious somber droning harmonies feedback reverb and the chiming of an actual ship’s bell from 1811 … all of which made it the perfect soundtrack for the cosmic rewards of a lysergic evening.
Rising out of the folk scene of the early 60’s, H.P. Lovecraft were tight, and while not greatly experimental, except perhaps on their later album with their keyboards, they were very inventive and surreal when it came to engaging and embracing the listener, creating music that enveloped, was trancelike, and often came across as musical meditative compositions that would slowly visually flower right before you eyes.
This is music that was very much in and of its time, designed primarily for solitary listeners alone in their rooms, at a time when there were no computers, virtually no television, with only the faint glow of warm tube radios emanating their disembodied hushed voices to keep to us company through the night and into the wee hours of the morning. If ever there was a band who was at the right place at the exact moment, it was H.P. Lovecraft with this release, one that gains more attention as time passes and people long for something more personal, something out of time and out of place.
*** The Fun Facts: The albums cover was created by the legendary John Cabalka, who would go on to create album artwork for the likes of Van Morrison’s Wavelength, Frank Zappa’s Studio Tan, Deep Purple’s Stornmbringer, along with Devo’s first outing and many others.
– Jenell Kesler
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