Thursday, 1 January 2015

Beast - Beast [1969], album review

Beast in Abeyance

Apart from the beastly opening [no, really, beast noises which are probably beast-orgasms, simulated of course, as best as one can imagine the beast’s sexual paroxysms, and there is an ending 'female' scream - actually drummer Larry Ferris - in horror, I’m suspecting is the idea, if there was an idea, the noises being an ensemble rendition of the word 'rush'] this settles down to a mix of sweetness, like second track Floating [Down By The River] with flute floating the metaphoric boat of the softly descending melody - also third Spaceman which is sunshine pop harmonies and a narrative of a strange voice softly calling because aliens in ’69 would be bringing peace and offering a ride - and the harsher, like fifth Goin’ Downtown where the hornrock and feedbacked guitar asserts itself and meets my natural expectation of a band with such a monstrous name: this is a great late 60s brassrock track. Sixth is a wonderful period piece, Listen-Cannabis Sativa L, and it makes the celebration of marijuana so prettily angelic that bogarting a joint would be the epitome of anathematic behaviour. Seventh Ev’ry Man Hears Different Music [a weird contraction] delves into the pseudo-philosophical lyricism of this carefree time, with profundity like when I die I want to feel like I have lived, ignoring the fact that by the late 60s medical knowledge was well in advance of such wishful thinking. This song is a cross between The Buckinghams and The Guess Who. There is a seriously effective sitar, tabla and jangling bells with flute instrumental as eleventh track [Strange Places Like] Santo Domingo. The album is essentially very earnest and na├»ve and great fun to listen to when it doesn’t matter.

I will at some stage be listening to their 1970 follow-up and reporting back on the band’s progress

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