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Ozric Tentacles - Strangeitude CD (album) cover

STRANGEITUDE

Ozric Tentacles

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 204 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Essentially their third album (although there were six early cassette releases that shouldn't be overlooked!), 1991's `Strangeitude' saw British festival psych band the Ozric Tentacles introduce more fully an electronic sound, although in very different ways from the programmed later direction the band would move into in their more recent years. The band had briefly flirted with electronics on both the `official' debut `Pungent Effulgent' and the follow-up `Erpland', but here it was perfectly grafted to their colourful psychedelic jamming and exotic ethnic flavours, often in a very heavy and intense manner that would in many ways remain exclusive to this album.

Opener `White Rhino Tea' sees the band burn through a range of gutsy electric guitar-driven themes and chunky upfront bass all unexpectedly played with the sleek heavier aggression of Rush, and light tribal touches, ambient synth breaks, busy snapping drumming and whirring keyboard wig-outs are also worked in. `Sploosh!', released as a single at the time and something of a classic Ozrics track, has looped sounds of water effects dripping around pulsing trance-like electronic programming with harsher interludes almost serving as a reprising `chorus', the piece growing more intense and unhinged as it progresses. Full of ancient world mystery, ravishing Arabic-flavoured acoustic guitars weave between purring bass and spiralling synth ripples throughout `Saucers', but pay close attention to how effortlessly the piece glides into a scorching space-rock burst and further hypnotic electronic drift in the final minutes.

The first half of side two's `Strangeitude' unfolds as a meditative eastern-flavoured ambient float laced with just a hint of unease before distorting into a hard electronic drum n' bass-like breakdown with twitching treated vocals and strident drumming, even finding time to tease with wisps of psychedelic glissando-guitar bliss. `Bizarre Bazaar' is one of those frantic up-tempo pieces the band does so well that unleashes wild acoustic guitar flourishes backed by busy drumming, bouncing bass and darting flute with fiery electric guitar snarls. Album closer `Space Between Your Ears' is a seductively chilled reggae/dub groove with purring bass slinking through pools of mellow synth washes before raging to life with mangled fiery guitar histrionics and bashing drums, making it almost an early run for later pieces like `Feng Shui' off their next album.

If you've got the CD version, the disc ends with `Live Throbbe', sure enough a live recording that's more-or-less a stomping drone that fuses Deuter-like meditative flute with plodding heavy drumming, wild guitar soloing and rising/falling electronics.

`Strangeitude' is definitely one of the Ozric's tightest and most focused albums, that doesn't sacrifice the liveliness and energy the group is known for, and the use of particularly heavier electronics makes it real one-off in their discography. `Jurassic Shift', one of their most popular and artistically successful moments was just around the corner, but the Ozrics had already hit gold with this one (hmmm, as well as `Erpland' just before it!).

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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