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Custard Flux — Phosphorus
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / 2LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-02-02

Phosphorus Cover art

Gregory Curvey was the chief writer of The Luck of Eden Hall, a psychedelic band we’ve covered a lot here at Exposé. In a more solo vein he’s created Custard Flux, which generally takes a more acoustic approach to arranging songs, though electric instruments do show up. Curvy himself sings and plays guitars, harmonium, piano, harpsichord, autoharp, drum kit, and percussion; he is joined by Vito Greco (guitars, Portuguese guitar) and Timothy Prettyman (double bass), along with guests Mars Williams (saxophones) and Jay Tausig (flute, backing vocals). This is the fourth Custard Flux album, and it occupies a fascinating territory bounded on one side by psychedelic rock and on the other by progressive rock. It establishes a unique identity right from the start of “The Pretender / Memory Ends,” with jangly acoustic guitars, catchy melodies, thumpy acoustic bass, and frequent changes of meter over a nine minute span. The title track follows, a lovely proggy instrumental that manages to be trippy and intense while maintaining a light mood. There’s some great sax work from Williams, and a wild electric guitar solo from Curvey, all backed by multiple acoustic guitar parts, harmonium, bass, and drums. One of the album’s defining features is how prominent the acoustic guitars are in the mix, usually with picked arpeggios and melodic lines rather than strummed chords. All twelve tracks are excellent, with “Station” and “The Gardener” standing out among the vocal tunes. The instrumental tracks are just as good, with the lengthy “By Order of the Grand Vizier” reminding me at times of something that could have appeared on The Geese and the Ghost or Voyage of the Acolyte. Phosphorus is an album which comes by its progressive nature in an honest way, much like the early days of the genre when psychedelic bands were just trying new things that sounded interesting, as opposed to most modern prog, which is often more self-conscious of its roots in previous generations of prog. Curvy has created something really special here that should appeal to fans of both psychedelic and progressive rock.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Jay Tausig, Custard Flux (Gregory Curvey)

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