Tuesday, 21 July 2015

SERPENT POWER – SERPENT POWER (Skeleton Key LP, CD)

Taking their name from a book of Victorian orientalism about tantric philosophy and combining the talents of The Coral’s Ian Skelly and The Zutons’ Paul Molloy, Serpent Power have lovingly crafted an album where full blown psychedelia meets hook laden pop smarts head on, taking you on a groovy trip back to the 1960s which then unravels like a darkly psychedelic comic horror book; with twisted tales of alien brain abduction, phantom bogeymen; sirens, voodoo witchdoctors and waitresses come serial killers to name but a few…….It’s a carnival of fuzzed out, backwards guitars in a strange and bizarre world of warped madness. Think The Dukes Of Stratosphear/Oranges And Lemons period XTC blended with classic Beatles inspired 60s British Pop/Psych with a dash of Nilssen/The Monkees pop genius added for good measure and that will give you some idea of where Serpent Power are coming from.
While The Coral are on an “indefinite hiatus in order to concentrate on individual projects”, Ian Skelly has already released one critically acclaimed album, Cut From A Star, which was an excellent mix of Psych, Folk and Prog influenced tracks. Serpent Power has evolved from that project and keeps the name of Ian's backing band from his solo album tour. Heading down a path way more psychedelic then anything that The Coral and The Zutons have ever released Skelly and Molloy display expert song craft while giving ‘The Summer of Love’ a mischievous wink, taking inspiration from classic psychedelia much in the same way as XTC did with their far out psychedelic alter ego The Dukes Of Stratosphear. There are some fantastic tracks on this album……’Lucifer’s Dreambox’ is an absolute tripped out psychedelic masterpiece twisted into weird shapes by studio trickery, ‘The Man Who Shrunk The World’ is Beatle-ish psych jangle while ‘ Last Ape In Space’ and the fuzzed up ‘Serpent Power, have the same playful psychedelia vibe as Super Furry Animals at their very best. There are also a few tracks that have a 60s feel in the mould of the Psych/Pop compositions by the likes of Paul Williams and Harry Nilssen……………’Candyman’ and ‘Killer Cherry Pie’ could have easily turned up on any of the later Monkees albums or the strange Popsike Tommy Roe records. There is certainly a paisley and lava lamp vibe going on here and this record is a must hear for lovers of classic 1960s psychedelic music even if you were never big fans of The Coral and The Zutons. Down in our psychedelic basement this has album has been getting plenty of spins on the old Dancette………one of our favourite records of the year so far. 
Serpent Power is another quality release from Skeleton Key Records and is available on CD and vinyl from their online shop or from your local independent CD/vinyl emporium (and if you must…..HMV have also got copies). Check it out People…………….it’s a great record.


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