Mordecai Smyth — The Mayor of Toytown Is Dead
(Mega Dodo DODOLP18, 2017, LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-10-04
In November 2017 Mega Dodo Records will be releasing the new album from the enigmatic Mordecai Smyth. It has been three years since his debut release as the first album on Mega Dodo Records. Through his association with Icarus Peel, Crystal Jacqueline, The Honey Pot, Fruits de Mer Records, and Mega Dodo, we see a mature Mordecai emerge in the nine new tracks on The Mayor of Toytown Is Dead. The nine songs explore different aspects of psychedelic, progressive, Krautrock, and Canterbury music, supported by Mordecai’s wife Tabitha and a number of guest musicians including Dave Lambert (The Strawbs and The Fire), Icarus Peel, Crystal Jacqueline, and others. The album opens with “Billywitch,” a trippy middle-Eastern themed song about a May bug that ends with buzzing wings. “River of Sleep” is a somnolent psych-prog-jazz hybrid with beautiful sax and dreamy Mellotron. “Far from the Crowd” borrows the Mellotron theme from “The Court of the Crimson King” to accompany the vocals for an exquisite proggy arrangement. “Heading Back West” is a West Coast psych ballad drawing comparisons to The Byrds and The New Riders of the Purple Sage. “Golf Girl” is Mordecai’s trippy cover of Caravan’s song that Mordecai chose to slow down a bit and add some tasteful Mellotron for the break. “A Knife and a Key” takes us back to mid-Eastern themes with Tabitha jamming on sax with Mordecai for the final minute. An interesting departure is the Slapp Happy / Dagmar Krause styled and upbeat song “Happy.” The one instrumental tune, “Stay with the Pulse,” has a catchy Krautrock melody that reminds me of Bowie’s “V-2 Schneider.” And the album closes with “Dissent into Chaos,” a syncopated song with an excellent electric guitar solo. Though the Mayor may be dead, the music will live on. Be sure to snag a copy for yourself when this album hits the streets.
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
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more