The Chemistry Set – ‘Pink Felt Trip’ (2022)
Formed 1987 by Dave McLean and Paul Lake, the Chemistry Set is celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary of togetherness by releasing a brand new album.
Scheduled for arrival June 5th, ‘Pink Felt Trip’ stands as a natural extension of all the mind-bending molecules the London, England based band has built their stellar reputation on.
The title track ignites the album with a sonic assault poised to rattle rooftops and knock knick knacks off shelves. Trembling with crushing drums, distorted guitars and threatening vocals, the caterwauling chaos of ‘Pink Felt Trip’ abruptly changes the dial at the end of the manic session in the shape of glorious doo wop crooning.
Seated right behind ‘Pink Felt Trip’ is a rendition of Mark Fry’s ‘The Witch’, which was originally recorded in 1972. Here on the Chemistry Set’s awesome version of the song, Gregorian chanting followed by delicate folk frequencies lead the way before ballooning into a madcap jumble of speed demon sitars, shrilly flutes and a dark and foreboding tenor in general that can be compared to a mash-up of the Electric Prunes, the Pretty Things and the Yardbirds.
Bluesy slide guitar riffs, complemented by a hypnotic groove, needling sitar shavings and acid-folk trimmings are the goods responsible for the irresistibly hummable ‘Sail Away’, while a wink and a wave goes to the Moody Blues on the heady ‘Psychotronic Man’, involving an exotic orchestral presentation, majestic vocals – and on a surprising only humorous and bizarre note – snippets of television shows.
Accessorized with Swinging Carnaby Street flashbacks, ‘Lovely Cuppa Tea’ is a paisley-powered pop winner featuring a plucky dance hall shuffle, a super catchy chorus and tight and tasty hooks, where the utterly ravishing ‘Paint Me A Dream’ sparkles and soars to a goosebump-inducing exhibition of ringing guitars, gusty harmonies and heavenly haunting melodies reminiscent of ‘Fifth Dimension’/’Younger Than Yesterday’ era Byrds. The album concludes to a ten minute trilogy coined ‘Self-Expression Trinity’ encompassing grand symphonic flourishes to finely-tuned patterns and arrangements.
Like the best psychedelic music, ‘Pink Felt Trip’ balances experimentation with speckles of accessibility. Colorful and creative songwriting, enriched by inventive instrumentation and dazzling singing and playing illustrate every aspect and angle of this amazing album. No matter what decade we’re looking at, the Chemistry Set truly ranks as one of the greatest bands of the genre.
The Chemistry Set – ‘Pink Felt Trip’ (Fruits de Mer Records 2022)