Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Mordecai Smyth — Things Are Getting Stranger on the Shore
(Mega Dodo DODO36, 2022, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2022-07-13
The reclusive Berkshire musician Mordecai Smyth was the first artist signed to Mega Dodo records back in 2011 with the release of his debut album. His second album followed in 2017, and now five years on we have Mordecai’s third album, Things Are Getting Stranger on the Shore. And I have to tell you that each new Mordecai release stands head and shoulders above the previous, and it is well worth the five year wait. Once again, Mordecai enlisted the help of several guests: Jon Camp (ex-Renaissance), Icarus Peel, and Crystal Jacqueline. The album has a prog rock / art rock vibe, bringing together various influences. The opening track, “In Your Dark Space,” is an eerie, trippy psych tune with a sax-fueled jam that grows on you the more you listen to it. The second track, “Fear of Flying,” is a bucolic Pink Floyd inspired ballad with a dark edge, augmented with clarinet. Then “Mercy” will blow you away with its mixture of Fields of the Nephilim and Popol Vuh. “The Love That We Found” is a delicate love song about kindred spirits finding each other at a record fair. Track five takes the listener on a different journey, this time through late night funk with Jon Camp’s fretless bass. The short “The Upholsterer’s Wife” is a mixture of jazzy guitar lines and trippy vocals. Now we come to the pinnacle of the album, “That Late Autumn Sun,” a roughly 16-minute tour de force reminiscent of early 70s prog rock propelled by Mordecai’s inspired Gilmour-esque lead guitar, Crystal Jacqueline’s exquisite vocals, Jon Camp’s outstanding bass, varying emotions, and tons of Mellotron. This is one truly beautiful and wonderfully orchestrated composition. The album ends with the Hawkwind flavored “High Once More” that recalls their infamous “The Golden Void.” This tune is one of the greatest songs Nik Turner never penned, great sax playing, trippy vocals, catchy melody, and the album title is the refrain. Things Are Getting Stranger on the Shore is one of this year’s best albums. With this album, Mordecai Smyth should no longer be a stranger on either shore of “the pond.”
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