Exposé Online banner

Arjen Anthony Lucassen — Strange Hobby
(Aluca ALM001CD, 1996/2016, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-08-24

Strange Hobby Cover art

“Arnold Layne had a strange hobby…” This 20-year-old artifact of 60s covers will surely hit the spot for anyone who grew up in the years from 1966-1970, taking a sampling of great radio hits from that period (Beatles, Kinks, The Who, early Pink Floyd, Hollies, Status Quo, and more), and covering them with a more modern and hard-edged production, while essentially remaining faithful to the originals in other respects. For the last twenty years this mysterious album of covers was credited to “?” but now in 2016 the truth can finally be told: This was created by Arjen Anthony Lucassen, the Dutch songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist better known for his propensity for bombastic neo-prog-metal rock-operas, and his bands Star One, Ayreon, Gentle Storm and several others. Strange Hobby is one of the earliest releases in his career, though the artist and release were never connected until now. The 22 tracks herein (this reissue includes four bonus tracks, including one original that fits in perfectly with the era of the others) cover a range of 60s pop hits, leaning far more heavily toward the British side than American, although Dylan’s “I Want You,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock,” and a couple tunes recorded by The Monkees are notable exceptions, as well as a cover of The Beach Boys’ cover of the traditional “Sloop John B.” So many highlights herein, it will be difficult to enumerate them all, but perhaps the biggest standouts are “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Boris the Spider,” and from among the bonus tracks “Ruby Tuesday.” The song that comes the farthest though, from a simple folk song that was originally done with acoustic guitar accompaniment, is no doubt Donovan’s “Catch the Wind,” which starts out with the song being played through a cheap radio, much like the beginning of Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” then blasts into an epic rock version. Overall, it sounds like Lucassen had a blast making this record, and it definitely sets the controls for the wayback machine to the late 60s.


Filed under: Reissues, 2016 releases, 1996 recordings

Related artist(s): Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon)

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Chrysaldor - The Legend – The packaging of this release is a tad confusing, and the title may well be Chrysaldor The Legend, with the musicians being named Zen’s and El Jice. Whatever. This is a release on Musea’s...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues