Friday, February 20, 2009

Squires of the Subterrain - Big Boy Pete Treats - 2002


The legendary British psychedelic eccentric Big Boy Pete (aka Pete Miller) could not have found a more simpatico latter-day spiritual heir, collaborator, counterpart, and interpreter than the Squires of the Subterrain (aka Christopher Earl). With Big Boy Pete Treats, that meeting of the minds is precisely what materialized, and it is an inspired pairing. Perhaps Miller felt the age had passed at which he could have credibly performed the sentiments conveyed in many of these songs -- all composed back during his heyday in the '60s -- but whatever reason he had for ultimately handing them over to Earl 30-odd years later for recording purposes, all enthusiasts of psychedelic pop at its most adventurous and skewed owe him a debt of gratitude for dusting off and making available a group of oddball gems, originally rejected by English publishers as "too far out" even for the lysergic era. Earl does a sensational job of making the songs (about half of which he helped to finish, contributing significant enough parts to earn co-writing credit) his own, sweetening the pot by slightly softening some of the more feral elements of Miller's songwriting muse, even as the resulting recording, produced by Miller himself, maintains the inimitable Big Boy Pete hallmarks, like the one-of-a-kind cow-psych ("Flashbacks" and the rockabilly-on-amphetamines of "I Do Declare"), the helium-fed fairy tales ("Genius Man," "Henry Nut"), the lurching, Looney Tunes tempos ("There You Go"), aurally damaged excursions ("Be Yourself"), and bewildering sci-fi ("Half a Crown/Party Reprise"). The formal idiosyncrasies of the songs aside, the album amasses a subtle, almost subliminal exoticness that helps to impress itself in your gray matter: layer upon layer of unhinged effect, an undertow of hidden vocal countermelodies emerging out of rabbit holes, cleverly contorted and warped melodic turns that almost imperceptibly disorient. Big Boy Pete Treats is truly a funhouse of the mind and a smorgasbord for the ears, and but for a few lackluster moments, exactly the wayward feat you would expect from the collaboration. -AMG




Squires of the Subterrain - Big Boy Pete Treats pt1 - 2002/rs

Squires of the Subterrain - Big Boy Pete Treats pt2 - 2002/rs
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Squires of the Subterrain - Big Boy Pete Treats pt1 - 2002/sb
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1 comment:

zappahead said...

Mmmmmm...nice stuff...thanks for remembering ....big boy pete...the master.......very interesting stuff.....should be listened by a lot more people...thanks for sharing......cheers.

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