Monday 25 February 2013

Reality Tunnel Volume Two - The Carnival is Over

Album review by

Before we get to the music, this Various Artists compilation from Vanity Case Records is worth mentioning for the packaging alone. You will receive a CD in a slip case, both with beautiful artwork, wrapped in fabric and tied with a ribbon. Along with this comes a bundle of dried sage which is to be burnt to help purify your body, mind, soul and home. The sleeve notes for the album come on an ancient looking piece of parchment, all of which come encased in a velvet bag; you really do get your money's worth with this lot, it's almost too good to take apart and play. But play it you must, or you'll be missing out on a musical Alice In Wonderland adventure.

As far as we can tell some, although we don't know how many, of the songs here are covers, but as we only recognise one song out of the lot this may not be the case. It could be that the artists involved have picked deliberately obscure psychedelic tracks that have yet to receive the credit they deserve. Geese kick things off with a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's classic 'Moonshot' (also covered by Galaxie 500) but frankly this is blatant cheating because with a song this good you can't fail, so we're disqualifying them on these grounds. What comes next is like disappearing into a musical Narnia, a haven for the weird, wonderful, wacky and wide-ranging. We could write about each song individually, they're all that interesting.

From the post-punky 'Basilisk' by Kilgore Trout, the drone-pop of Mueran Humanos' 'Horas Tristes', to the warped doo-wop/folk of ST 37's 'Just You'. Then it all goes a bit Harvest label circa 1971. 'Hanging Up Hung Up People' by Simply Gerard is a fabulous oddity, The Congregation throw in the oddly cinematic instrumental 'Emil', 'Ye Psyche Lobe' by 3eese is just... strange. The brilliantly named 'Howard Be Thy Name' sound like Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayres (RIP) put through a blender on 'Raising A Lunatic', 'That Dirty Clown' by K. Ross is just plain creepy. Underneath the bonkers 'Mandy' by Val Denham + Farmacia is a great pop song trying to escape. It's then left to Frozen Geese to wrap things up with a solitary saxophone playing a song called 'Smile'. It's a brilliant and captivating ride, all the songs deserve more attention than we'd had the space to give them here, and if you come out the other side with your sanity intact then well done!

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