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

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Machiavel - Virtual Sun – I'm not even a big fan of Machiavel in their "classic" phase, circa Mechanical Moonbeams. Even then the group's proto-neo-progressive / mainstream symphonic rock style does little to...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues