Us & Them — From the Corner of My Eye
(Mega Dodo MEGA17, 2018, 7")
Us & Them — On Shipless Ocean
(Mega Dodo DODOCD29, 2018, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-05-09
Our favorite Swedish gothic psych / acid folk duo has two new releases on Mega Dodo Records this April and June: a 7-inch single, From the Corner of My Eye, and their second full-length album, On Shipless Ocean. From the Corner of My Eye is their follow-up to last year’s EP When I Was Walking, and contains four delicately beautiful and wistful acid folk songs. The title track and “When Life Begins” are original songs that take you on a magical journey through the filtered sunlight of a deep forest. “The Iron Maiden” was written by Wolly Wolstenholme with Astor Wolfe joining Britt on vocals, Dag Strömberg on flute, and Erik Håkansson on drums for a dreamy excursion into the realm of faerie and unapproachable love. The closing song is a psychedelic reading of David Bowie’s “All the Madmen” where Us and Them take you on a fantastic magic carpet journey through vibrant kaleidoscopic colors, floating past Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett.
On Shipless Ocean features 10 additional songs plus a remix of “From the Corner of My Eye.” In contrast to the EP, the album sound is crystal clear, showcasing Britt’s beautiful and captivating voice. The album opens with “The Trees and Sky Above,” a great introduction to the album with Britt’s dreamy vocals. The second track, “From the Corner of My Eye” is 20 seconds longer than the EP and not quite as gothic. “A New Life” continues the magical journey, integrating understated bubbly synths into the mix. The fourth track is their longest song to date, a cover of Kevin Ayres’ “Lady Rachel.” Clocking in at 10 minutes, this masterpiece of dark gothic psych is mostly instrumental, with Britt relating an eerie tale, that reminds me of Crystal Jacqueline’s cover of The Troggs’ “Cousin Jane.” “Changes and Choices” is Britt at her saddest and most forlorn. “People Like Us” is a catchy but fragile love song with the lyric, “I stayed for summer, you stayed for life.” The album ebbs and flows, taking us in new directions with “Time,” a melodic tic-toc waltz and possibly a theremin. The only true instrumental on the album is the short "Extract from the 17th of November’ with its electronics, steady beat, bells, and chimes. The other long song on the album is the 9½ minute “Tail,” an acid folk lullaby with subtle electric guitar and dark Mellotron. The exquisite “She Is Not Me” and the spooky “We Are Not Alone” close the album. Us and Them continue to produce gently infectious and excellent music. And if you have yet to experience their music, here is your opportunity.
Related artist(s): Us & Them
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more