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Cold Sun - Dark Shadows CD (album) cover

DARK SHADOWS

Cold Sun

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 27 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's been a while since I've been so intrigued with an album like this one. My first listen was bizarre as all I knew was that this was released in 1989 and it was a Psychedelic record. Bizarre because the vocals and fuzzed out guitar sounded straight out of 1968 or 1969. I felt like I had discovered something special here and after doing some research I found out that this was originally recorded in 1969 but the record label went bankrupt leaving this on the shelf until Rockadelic Records picked it up and released it 20 years later. That answered some questions I had. COLD SUN was the project of Bill Miller who plays an electric autoharp here along with harmonica and sings. This band was from Austin, Texas the home of the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS. That band's leader Roky Erickson would hook up with Bill Miller later on in Roky's band called ROKY ERICKSON AND THE ALIENS who released two great albums in the early eighties.

There's some dispute with the release date of "Dark Shadows" as Discogs has it at 1993 and many point to a magazine interview where it says Rockadelic Records discovered this album in 1991 and released it the following year. I feel 1989 is right along with RYM because on the Rockadelic web-site it has their releases by catalogue number in order and it had to be 1989 unless they were in the habit of giving catalogue numbers then not releasing the album for a few years. I'm going with 1989. I have the 2008 re-issue which sounds a lot better apparently. Interesting that the 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS were known for that electric jug while COLD SUN was known for that electric autoharp. This is a dark and moody album including the lyrics that are so well done. By the way COLD SUN originally had the 13tH FLOOR ELEVATORS drummer but he left before the recording of this record.

"South Texas" is a great opener and I really dig the lyrics, especially talking about the gecko and paranoia. The fuzzed out guitar and autoharp are outstanding and check it out before 2 minutes as it's like the sun has come out making the darkness flee briefly. So cool. Harmonica after 3 1/2 minutes then more fuzzed out guitar late. A nice start. "Twisted Flower" is another excellent track and it opens with percussion and bass as it builds. Kind of a DOORS feel with the guitar then the vocals arrive before a minute. I really liked this right from the first listen. The guitar and autoharp sound incredible here.

"Here In The Year" is probably my favourite song on here. Again the lyrics are so well done. Drums, bass and autoharp to start as vocals join in. It's surprising how much he sounds like Bob Dylan on this song at times. How good does this sound just before 2 minutes as it changes slightly. So good! Suddenly we get chaos before 3 minutes as they rip it up. Back to the vocals before 3 1/2 minutes as the guitar solos over top. Insanity again after 5 1/2 minutes as we get another freak-out. It settles back again along with droning autoharp sounds, a beat and more.

"For Ever" is an uptempo track with desperate sounding vocals and we get backing vocals too. I like the guitar too then we get a change 1 1/2 minutes in sounding like Zappa's debut to me, especially again late. In between we get an explosion of sound 3 minutes in. "See What You Cause" is a catchy vocal led track with drums and bass supporting. Too straight forward for my tastes although I like it especially the fuzzed out guitar late.

"Fall" opens with drums as harmonica, guitar, bass and autoharp join in. Great lyrics again. It settles after 2 minutes then it kicks in with vocals. Fuzzed out guitar after 3 1/2 minutes and an urgent sound with vocals. Pulsating keys late in this dramatic instrumental conclusion. "Ra-Ma" ends it and it's the longest at 11 1/2 minutes. Beats and cymbals as it builds. It calms right down a minute in with vocals and more. It picks right back up with vocals. Another calm after 3 minutes as the tempo continues to change. It settles with harmonica and vocals before 5 minutes. Some grinding fuzzed out guitar follows. An interesting sound late without vocals to end it.

I agree with Damo that this would be considered a classic and a pioneer album had it been released back in 1969 or 1970 when it was recorded. A very solid 4 stars and the album cover is really well done.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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