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Quicksand - Home Is Where I Belong CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.80 | 35 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars QUICKSAND were an obscure and short-lived Prog-Folk quartet from South Wales. They disappeared down the pit with their picks and shovels beneath the Welsh mining valleys just as quickly as they'd emerged. The band were in existence just long enough to mine one album of precious ore, "Home is Where I Belong" (1973), during their brief shining moment at the coalface. We've now unearthed that rare commodity for review here. The original album featured eight songs, with two more bonus tracks added for the later CD re-issue. It's time to take a deep breath and plunge head first into the Quicksand now to check out the album.

"Yaki Da Boyo!" Although Quicksand might be as Welsh as a bunch of Welsh miners emerging from the pithead with blackened faces, the first track "Hideaway My Song" sounds like it could have been recorded by a bunch of blonde-haired surfer dudes riding the breakers at Big Sur in sunny California. Quicksand have truly captured the west coast California sound of the seventies here. They sound as blueberry-pie American as Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Jo Spears wearing stetson hats at a rodeo, with a McDonalds Quarterpounder and a bottle of Budweiser in each hand. "Yee-hah! Ride 'em cowboy!". We're still out in the sunshine for "Sunlight Brings Shadows", a storming artillery barrage of Heavy Prog which targets the listener with all of the deadly stealth and accuracy of a nuclear-powered hunter killer submarine. It's an unrelenting percussive wave of sound from beginning to end with some fast and furious Kentucky Fried guitar riffing that's finger-lickin' good. Telling these guys to turn the volume down would be like telling fighter pilots to be less aggressive. It's just not gonna happen! There's a complete change of pace now for "Empty Street, Empty Heart", a gentle Folk-Rock tune that's as pleasantly surprising as finding there's still a restaurant open during the coronavirus lockdown. Again, this warm and sunny song with its mellow guitar groove captures the spirit of California perfectly, despite the clear British accent of the singer. This exuberant and uplifting music has enough feel-good flower-power sunshine to brighten up the dullest of winter days. Closing out Side One now, we have the two-part song and highlight of the album so far, "Overcome The Pattern / Flying". This is incredible! You can almost smell the Incense and Peppermint in this tripped-out Californian west coast Psychedelic Rock extravaganza, that's actually coming to you from the mining valleys of South Wales. The first part "Overcome the Pattern" takes you to Prog-Rock heaven and back again with the manic guitarist going absolutely ape-crazy in a dazzling psychedelic display of frantic fretting. There's a crazy freak-out interlude around about the halfway point, sounding like some nightmarish psychedelic acid trip from Hell. Don't expect a return to sanity and normality any time soon though, because the second part "Flying" is flying as high as a kite in a smoking purple haze of spaced out Looney Tunes wackiness. Quicksand have completely thrown the prog "rulebook" away (not that there ever was a prog rulebook!) and taken off on a fantastic voyage in a free flight of fancy. This is wonderfully liberating music! It's like throwing the Monopoly rulebook away and then going around the board in whichever direction pleases you and then responding with a faraway stare into space if anyone challenges you.

This stunning album really makes you feel good to be alive and what better way to celebrate the joys of life than with Song No. 5: "Time to Live". Although Quicksand are billed as a Prog-Folk band on ProgArchives, this joyously optimistic song has much more of a groovy Jazz-Rock feel to it. Just lay back and bask in the warm glow of this song. The music is as warm and sunny as Bondi Beach in mid-summer, in a heatwave, which makes it even harder to believe that this sunny tune comes from the dull rain-drenched valleys of South Wales. This energetic sunburst of bright shining joy should come with a beach umbrella and a free bottle of suntan lotion. We arrive back home for the title track now: "Home is Where I Belong", another gloriously uplifting summer song that makes you want to throw caution to the wind and jump for joy with gay abandon (in the old-fashioned sense) and dance like a whirling dervish in a green sunlit meadow filled with daisies, dandelions and daffodils. It's time for the second of the long two-part epics on the album now with "Seasons / Alpha Omega". This is another classic magnum opus (presumably the opposite of magnum 'opeless) in a stunning display of prog wizardry and virtuosity, where you feel you can almost reach up into the stratosphere and touch the face of the Prog Gods in all of their infinite musical wisdom and greatness. There are swirling synths, pounding machine-gun percussion and glittering guitar glissandos galore here in abundance, which will amaze and delight even the most hardened of prog aficionados. This is triumphal and pompous prog that will blow you away and take you above and beyond Cloud 9 and lift you right up to prog heaven in all of its glorious majestic splendour. Sadly, it's time to come down to Earth with a bump now for the closing song: "Hiding It All", a suitably anthemic and uplifting piece of powerful prog to close out the album in magnificently fine style. This magnificent music is guaranteed to lift you up and carry you along on a pleasure-wave of heart-warming emotion, leaving one feeling full of the joys of life, love and happiness. If music be the food of love, then play this sensational album and celebrate the power of music to set the heart and soul on fire with love and passion.

Every self-respecting prog fan will feel right at home with Quicksand's stunning one-off album: "Home is Where I Belong". If prog was a religion, then this marvellous masterpiece would be deserving of a place on the highest altar in the most magnificent cathedral in the land. It's time to say "Hallelujah" and worship the Prog Gods for blessing us with this praiseworthy offering of manna from prog heaven.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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