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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jade Warrior - Now – Jade Warrior is one of those musical enigmas that has been nearly impossible to pigeonhole. Founder members Jon Field and vocalist Glyn Havard resurrected the band in 2007 meeting up after a long...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues