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Radio Massacre International — Rain Falls in Grey
(Cuneiform Rune 256, 2007, CD)
Head pixie Daevid Allen’s cover art, featuring a colorful half-toned rendition of Syd Barrett, provides the first clue as to what lies within this jewel case. Call it retro-psych, post-modern psych, psych psych… whatever. I call it pretty damn good. British trio Radio Massacre International are better known for their EM and space rock, though Barrett’s death – days before they began work on the album – forced a course correction resulting in this disk, a sort of love letter to Syd that’s more than just a tribute. Echoes of Floyd circa '67/'68 do poke their heads through the patchouli haze, including nods to “Astronomie Dominie” and “Interstellar Overdrive” within the four-part extravaganza that opens the album and which comes crashing to a close on the succinctly titled “Syd.” It encompasses many classic psych rock trademarks pioneered by Barrett-era Floyd, but also echoing Daevid Allen’s work with early Gong, and even the intense psych rock of early Porcupine Tree. Several tracks are graced by the saxes, clarinets, and flutes of Martin Archer whose playing lends them the same soulful magic that Dick Parry gave the Floyd on their seminal mid 70s albums. The album closes with a spacious and bluesy guitar improvisation by Gary Houghton that is emotionally wrenching and about as heartfelt a musical statement as I’ve heard in a long time. RMI fans expecting more Berlin-school EM may be in for a surprise with this one, but I have a feeling it will be a pleasant one.
by Paul Hightower, Published 2009-07-01
by Jon Davis, Published 2009-07-01
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