Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Various Artists - strange fruit and veg

The English indie label Fruits de Mer Records stakes its claim on bringing psychedelia, progressive rock, krautrock, acid-folk, and spacerock to the rest of the planet via slabs of vinyl. The company also utilizes a shrewd marketing approach that entices regular customers to join a Members Club with the promise of receiving exclusive compilations of mind-altering songs. The lowercase titled strange fruit and veg, which is being given to people who order Mechanisms Part Two, an adventurous, sci-fi themed double LP from the UK prog band Cranium Pie, is a prime example. It plays to Fruits de Mer’s strength of asking current psychedelic and prog rock bands to cover vintage songs. 

Even those of us who aren’t familiar with Trojan Horse can love the haunting acid-folk arrangement this band brings to Crosby, Stills Nash and Young’s “Ohio.” The Crawlin’ Hex turns Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” into a massive swirl of guitars, while Rob Gould provides a faithful and dreamy take on The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Todd Dillingham’s experimental rendition of “Hey Joe” obscures the sexist lyrics in favor of guitars that drift in and out, and a coda that involves what sounds like World War II fighter planes flying over. 

Each of the 18 acts on strange fruit and veg succeeds with its assigned cover; from Crystal Jacqueline’s triumphant reading of Strange Fruit’s “All Over The World” to The Mystery Crystals’ suitably eccentric version of Syd Barrett’s “Vegetable Man.” An industrial rock instrumental cover of Hawkwind’s “Circles” by Vert:x adds to the excitement. “Martians Don’t Surf!” appears to be an original song by The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies but it fits right in with these classic tracks with its fun mix of surf rock and space age synthesizers. 

Cranium Pie’s double LP Mechanisms Part Two will be available on colored vinyl from Fruits de Mer on March 30th.


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