Paper Monkeys - Ozric Tentacles Album Review
Some quarter of a century ago, the swirling psychedelia-electro rock of Ozric Tentacles appeared courtesy of a series of home-produced cassettes, before being slightly fine-tuned for a debut-album release on the space-rock label Demi-Monde. That full-length set, "Pungent Efflugent", earned a lucrative reissue through EMI and it and its follow-up, the superior "Erpland", became a benchmark for so-called 'head music'.
But whereas co-founder Ed Wynne might have cocked an ear to influential and similar predecessors such as Hawkwind, Jethro-Tull and Gong by utilising similar riffs, rocking and flying teapots (or all three), the Ozrics also aligned themselves with post-ravers by borrowing spacier textures and atmospherics from Amon Duul and Steve Hillage's solo-works (after he departed from Gong). Side-project Eat Static, formed by other original Ozricites, Joie and Merv, galvanised their grip on the ever-pulsating dance-scene with harder full-on techno and trance anthems.
"Paper Monkeys" is something like the band's 23rd album and that's not including those early cassettes. Any Ozric Tentacles fans out there nervous of any big changes can rest easy - this is classic Ozrics material, right down to the titles and the pulsating mix of trippy keyboards, jazz-rock drum-patterns and chugging fret-work throughout. Sadly, little of this album reaches the memorable heady heights of those first few releases, but it does have undoubted highpoints.
The middle of "Paper Monkeys" features three bang-on classics in "Knurl", "Lost in the Sky" and the title-track", each one insistent and choc-full of busy axe-work and shimmering synths, a trademark synergy that has worked for two and a half decades, so why change it? "The Will of the Wisps" is also rather fetching in its cloak of many spaced-out colours, topped off with dubbed-out glitter and shimmer.
Oddly, the opening track "Attack of the Vapours" is perhaps the weakest and suffers from way too much bass and lacklustre arrangement, while "Plowm" sounds disjointed and dated. The rest are business as usual.
Still, in a live environment, you can bet your rainbow sandals that much of "Paper Monkeys" sounds as fresh as the Ozric Tentacles have continued to sound during the past 25 years.
- Thu 10th Oct 2013 Ozric TentaclesThe Bierkeller (Bristol)Buy Tickets
- Sun 27th Oct 2013 Ozric TentaclesThe Globe (Cardiff)Buy Tickets
- Mon 28th Oct 2013 Ozric TentaclesO2 Academy 1 & 2 (Liverpool)Buy Tickets
- Wed 30th Oct 2013 Ozric TentaclesAcademy (Islington)Buy Tickets
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