Lal & Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus

Well this is a fun one. Originally it was released in 1972 and then quickly forgotten due to being too soft for the rock crowd and to weird for the folk crowd (Pitchfork). It was recently rereleased and its fun of quirky gems glistening in colours you thought impossible.

The album opens with a track Rubber Band, which is what the Beatles' Yellow Submarine should have been, but wasn't. It's freaky, fun and proud of being non-serious, just playing with some great tones.

The very second track sharply contrasts it, being a moody folkish ballad. The Scarecrow possesses a very specific mood, which is a mix of a Western and of a cultish imaginery. Closest to it melodically from its more popular brethren is Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson. It's a lightly accompanied grim story in musical form basically.

Next two songs, The Fine Horsemen and Winifer old are more typical folk balads, just performed greatly. More experimental of the two is Winifer Old, while The Fine Horsemen works excellently as background music.

I can only describe the track Danny Rose as a barn dance on speed. It's some truly great Rock'n'Roll.

The Magical Man is another round of experimental fun, but it's at moments a bit tiring.

And now lets skip to the last track, the Bright Phoebus. It's a perfect mix of serious folk and experimentation, and it is truly listenable, already using quite some techniques of later indie rock. Truly a masterpiece.

In short, the Bright Phoebus is a truly visionary album, which was unable to influence wider music community due to being way before its time. I hope it will finally get the recognition it deserves.


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