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The Chemistry Set – Pink Felt Trip | Neo-psychedelic Masterpiece

The aptly named The Chemistry Set viz. UK duo Dave Mclean and Paul Lake are progressive neo-psychedelic legends formed in 1987 with an illustrious career. Their work has influenced the dream-pop and shoegaze genres. Adding to their vast discography this opus is a joy to listen; modern but vintage rock LP Pink Felt Trip. Right from the beginning, from the fuchsia blue artwork by the Swedish designer Robin Gnista, inspired by Victor Moscoso, we’re taken on an experience and a journey. The aural and sonic diversity on this album is to die for. It’s a delight to listen to full album-length almost concept album rock with Pink Felt Trip in the singles era.

Pink Felt Trip begins with its title track with harmonized fuzzy guitars. While the sound is a 60s classic rock song it has a modern drum sound. The track feels like a mix of Mars Volta and Gorillaz. With lyrics that speak of hydrogen bombs and Allen Ginsberg, it sets the tone for the album. Psychedelic folk musician Mark Fry’s 1972 The Witch gets a makeover with vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars, and flutes; the recipe for a retro psychedelic rock track. When the organs and other elements come in it’s a crazy trip. The track ends with some middle eastern melodic lines and chaotic vocals and arrangements to achieve its desired effect.

Trumpets greet us on Lovely Cuppa Tea where the band channels some of their Sgt Peppers’ Beatles self. We’re also treated with some spoken verse on this over-the-top track. Firefly has an eastern rock sound to it and we’re treated to a tasteful guitar solo on this track. Phaser and flanger effects are healthily laced over this song. We’re treated with some tasteful classical, acoustic guitar, and percussion on Psychotronic Man with a Moody Blues feel. This is a calm reflective song with some great harmonies, with the track whipping up some drama in the second half. Paint Me Dreams presents us with a canvass on which the band paints their symphonic arrangement and spirited tones. After the rock trip journey, we’re treated to a more calm acoustic number with tablas on Sail Away. There is a certain modern Oasis, Blur vibe on this song. On The Rubicon, we get a more Rolling Stone-type straightforward rock song. Self-Expression Trinity is a 11-minute saga which a sumptuous feast of everything The Chemistry Set stand for.

Far from today’s relatively austere arrangements, we can hear Mellotron flutes, sitar, tabla, and a plethora of sounds and effects. We hear a gamut of genres such as blues rock, raga rock, New wave beat, Psych Pop, etc. You can hear that Chemistry Set has innovative rockers like The Who, The Moody Blues, early Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, and Captain Beefheart in their DNA. Pink Felt Trip is a colour-drenched canvas and mosaic library of classic 60s progressive psych-rock, something I would give my kids to listen to.

Do not miss this masterpiece! Spin it here on Bandcamp!


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Discovered via http://musosoup.com

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Guitarist. I write on music and praxis.

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