I’m not a great sleeper and tend to have a few hours in the night when I’m awake and looking for something to settle me back to the land of the zzzedzzz, and what could be better that listening to some music to drift off to. I’d been wanting to listen to the new Mildred Maude album for a while and decided to stick it on to see what it was like. The result was a very weird and unsettling forty minutes or so as I drifted in and out of consciousness… no drugs needed here to send me off on a psychedelic trip into the inner realms of my psyche. I cannot in all honesty say that I awoke refreshed, but I did know that I’d had an experience.
Listening again a week later in the cold light of day I can see why I had the experience that I did. ‘CPA I’ opens in a nightmarish manner with a central column of noise that disorientates and knocks you off kilter. From there is slowly develops into something that is pretty full-on for the whole of its eighteen minutes. It is a track that never lets up, neither does it ever get boring. Yes there is a repetition, but it really draws you into the track and drives those sonic waves into your brain as the guitar soars above the rhythm section like a bird on fire. This belies the fact that this track, like the rest of the album, was recorded in one take… no wonder the band recently acted as Damo Suzuki’s ‘sound carriers’.
‘CPA II’ is an altogether slower and more thoughtful track. Furthermore, principally because of the bass riff, it reminds me of Magazine… which, as regular readers will know, is a very good thing in my book. I like how there is a dark edge to this which never quite tips over into full-scale gloom. As a short number between to long ones it also works well in separating them to allow for a period of decompression before delving back into the glorious cacophony of…
‘CPA III’ starts of in a flurry of competing sounds and just keeps on going and, if anything, gets more intense. Probably my favourite track here it just seems to keep on getting more and more crazy, and you can just imagine there band getting more and more frenzied as they improvise and feed off each other. I can fully understand how my half-conscious self found this so disorienting because even my fully-awake self is using up a great deal of mind-bandwidth to fully compute what’s going on here.
‘CPA I-III’ is not really the stuff of nightmares, but it does represent a snapshot… a moment in time… that the band have captured really well. This is an album that does have a dark dystopian element to it, and will get your brain moving in a certain direction. Most of all though, if you like well-played exciting improvised psych music then this is for you… just maybe make sure you’re awake when you listen to it.