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Spirits Burning - An Alien Heat (with Michael Moorcock) CD (album) cover


Spirits Burning


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 1 ratings

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la Volpe
4 stars This record is a masterpiece for all those who miss the classics of Seventies groups like Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult. It is no coincidence that among the 31 musicians who worked on the concept devised by Michael Moorcock are Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser and Richie Castellano (the first three belonging to the Cult's original line-up and the fourth a long-term member) and Harvey Bainbridge, Bridget Wishart, Mick Slattery and Adrian Shaw (all ex-Hawkwind).

In addition to being arranged in a dense style rich with solos, exotic instruments and enough obsessive rhythms to recall BOC and Hawkwind to please their fans, I must say that the songs are really good, sometimes excellent, and for almost a whole CD, overflowing with sixteen tracks that fill almost every digital memory space available.

"Hothouse flowers", sung by the iconic Buck Dharma, opens the dance in Blue Oyster Cult territory, then gives way to the amazing "Geronimo", with the frail and raspy vocal performance by Albert Bouchard expressing his overwhelming personality on one of the record's most successful mid-tempo pieces, also thanks to Segel's violin and Moorcock himself on harmonica. Next comes "Soiree of Fire", another sublime choral piece with three voices (Moorcock, Bouchard and Anne Marie Nacchio Castellano, Richie's wife) decorated by Wishart's electric horns. The catchy "In The Future", sung by Jsun Atums, hosts a nice solo by Richie Castellano.

"Doomed" still features the fragile voices of Albert Bouchard and Michael Moorcock, while "Fall in love", which could be a major piece of the Lemmy-era Hawkwind, is sung by Don Fleming (in the nineties collaborator and producer of Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub and Screaming Trees) and "Any Particular Interest" again by Atoms. "Dark Dominion", another masterpiece mixing the motorik rhythm and the Hawkwind sound, sung by Andy Shernoff of the Dictators, concludes the first half hour of the album (and the first half of the pieces) - and so far there has not yet been a wasted note.

At this point enters one of the top players of the record, namely Mr. Joe Bouchard, ex-bassist of Blue Oyster Cult and brother of Albert, who delights us with his well-known monstrophile inclinations (BOC fans will understand) and with his peculiar voice on two of the best tracks of the album, the crazy "Seven Finger Solution" (perhaps the most infectious riff of the album, mostly in a 7/4 time signature) and "To Steal A Space Traveler", an over seven minutes space rock jam that summarizes the best musical aspects of the project.

In the following three songs, Albert takes the microphone: the best of them is "Virtue & Mrs. Amelia Underwood", which mixes the modernity of the verse with the classic rock feel of the vocal harmonies, with Falcone and Wishart coloring the piece with electric tools; "Back to 1896" houses a phenomenal refrain and the beautiful guitar of Doug Erickson, while "Learning the art" is a moody, melanchonic beauty.

Only towards the end there is a certain weariness, with "Quest For Bromley" and "Old Friends With New Faces" being a little inferior to the rest of the material. Even the good "Thank You For The Fog" in its eight minutes is not always up to the final epic that the collective hoped to achieve here.

At the time of this review, the collective is supposedly working to produce the sequel of the album, "The Hollow Lands", which of course will be based on the second book of Moorcock on the "Dancers at the End of Time."

All I can do is advise you to track down the excellent books and to listen to this album with pleasure, anche album that testifies not only the creative ability of the exuberant Don Falcone but also the fertile creativity of terrible old men like Moorcock and Albert Bouchard.

A full four stars, and totally un-missable fr BC and Hawkwind fans.

la Volpe | 4/5 |


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