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Thursday, 20 October 2016

CHICKN - CHICKN (Inner Ear Records 2 x LP, D/L).

Strange things are happening on the weird and wonderful Greek Progressive Rock scene…………new from the very cool Greek label Inner Ear Records is the debut album from  Prog/Psych band Chickn. Based in Athens, Chickn are not quite from Western Europe, not quite in the Middle East and not quite in the Balkans but geographically located somewhere in the middle of this rich mix of cultures which reflects in their music as they blend together early 70s experimental Prog Rock (the weird stuff that came outta the musical collectives in mainland Europe not the bloated post-psychedelic nonsense that most British bands where releasing) and elements of Krautrock with heavy Eastern European/Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences. Essentially a percussion heavy trio comprising of  Angelos Krallis (vocals, electric, resonator & acoustic guitars, electric sitar, lute, synthesizers, tsambouna, udu, drum machine, steel drum), Evangelos Aslanides (drums, percussion, djembe, darbuka, bendir) and Pantelis Karasevdas (drums, percussion, congas, djembe), Chickn are joined by  Konstantinos Protopappas (electric guitar), Haris Neilas (darbuka, congas, cowbell), Andreas Kiltsiksis (oud, amanes) along with Greek cosmic travellers Baby Guru (Sir Kosmiche (bass), Prins Obi (additional synths, additional vocals) and King Elephant (saxophone)) to make the sounds in their heads a reality in the studio ……………..it’s a record that has its roots in the experimental 70s but is also  very modern, mixing together squalling psychedelic Acid Rock guitars and spiraling Kosmiche analog synths with a monster groove and a mass of thunderous percussion.

Partly improvised but played by musicians that have enough awareness to know when to stop jamming, the debut Chickn album is an absolute blast. Right from the first track the band hit the groove straight away……….there are slight similarities with the original Amon Düül, in the sense that if you bring along some drums you are probably in the band and we have not heard such massed percussion on a record for quite a while. On top of this very solid rhythmic base Angelos Krallis, Konstantinos Protopappas and the Baby Guru SpaceHeads lay down some swirling, mind melting Psychedelic Prog Rock……. ‘Omens’ is a head on collision between heavy guitars and bubbling Moogs while ‘Modular Prayer’ is Porcupine era Echo & The Bunnymen playing Space Rock (which get’s reprised for another tripped out, hypnotic 10 minutes with a drum solo that it’s ok to like). Chickn have been compared to Aphrodite’s Child (but more 666 than It’s Five O’Clock) and there are some tracks that the comparison would not be far from the mark………the final two tracks on the album (‘Prelude οn Mary’ which segues seamlessly into ‘Shifting Time Blues / Akhedia’) are beautiful classic sounding Prog/Psych with sublime Kosmic Krautrock Moogs that builds into an explosive finale of brutal drumming. The Chickn album is possibly the most interesting Prog/Psych album we have heard this year……………………..it avoids the usual Prog/Psych Rock clichés that blight the genre and looks further afield for inspiration PLUS it has a ton of drums on it. If you dig the more inventive side of 70s Prog Rock then you really should give this a listen.

Out NOW the debut Chickn album is available on 2 x LP (with a CD included) from either the Inner Ear website or their bandcamp page here https://innerear-chickn.bandcamp.com/album/chickn where you can also stream the album/buy the download.

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