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The Legendary Pink Dots - Shadow Weaver CD (album) cover


The Legendary Pink Dots

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars "The Maria Dimension" (1991) marked a transition in the Legendary Pink Dots' career from their earlier technoGoth ditties (which at times could sound like The Cure on angel dust) into one of the 1990s best psychedelic groups. While the psychedelic quality was there from the start (and "The Tower" and "Asylum" are both excellent albums from the earlier period), by the beginning of the 90s, LPD were starting to stretch out and go epic.

"Shadow Weaver" and its sequel, "Malachai" are the first great products of this new epic era (epic epoch?), and, for me, stand as some of their greatest pieces of music. LPD use what was then the latest technologies to extend 70s space prog into whole new dimensions. I could see fans of Hawkwind and Gong latching onto this material with ease, but I don't see why a fan of Pink Floyd couldn't fall in love here as well. A song like "City of Needles" at times even feels like a much darker version of "Welcome to the Machine" or something from "Meddle." Some of the other material here, like "Laughing Guest," is far more abstract than most Floyd, while a piece like "Prague Spring," with its gorgeous string arrangement, is positively lovely by any standard.

Edward Ka-Spell's lyrical dreams spin out his favorite themes of apocalypse, madness, sickness, Crowleyian magick, UFOs and a desire for transcendence, despite the tendency of human beings to be trapped in cycles of endlessly repeated habits. So, bright happy stuff as usual. On other albums, LPD can actually be a quite funny band. "Shadow Weaver" and "Malachai" are rather serious by contrast, but the music is alive with movement and an astonishing experimental spirit. I should also mention that at the time they were also a great band to see performing this material live.

It's always a little sad to me to find records by the Dots placed in the "Industrial music" section of a record store. Early on they were linked to that whole Wax Trax scene, and I can see some of the connections (including Ka-Spell's collaborations with Skinny Puppy members), but I think LPD were always far more ambitious than most groups tagged Industrial. That's why they strike me much more as one of the best prog groups of more recent times, especially beginning with "Shadow Weaver." Alas, I guess I should just be happy if I can even find their albums at all in a record store. I guess I should just be happy if I can even find a record store period. Sing while you may.

Report this review (#225430)
Posted Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album, the follow up to the fabulous The Maria Dimension continues in the same vein as the previous album. Pulsing, swirling synthesizer sounds flow around the bizarre, yet compelling lyrics. As on the previous album, the sound brings to mind an updating of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, with a bit of early Brian Eno's deadpan delivery mixed in.

While not quite as ear catching as Maria, this album, even after numerous listenings, continues to offer a heaping helping of audio candy ton the discerning listener. I particularly like the interplay between the sax and guest violinist Patrick Q-Wright. True, there is no astounding virtuosity on the Pink Dots' albums, but there is plenty of aural pleasure.

Report this review (#290091)
Posted Monday, July 12, 2010 | Review Permalink

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