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Murky Red

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Murky Red No Pocus Without Hocus album cover
3.93 | 72 ratings | 6 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Pixelated Friends (5:01)
2. Stoned & Horny (7:08)
3. Sweet Dark Hypnosis (3:47)
4. She's Crying Diamonds (4:56)
5. Nothing Can Go Wrong (4:16 )
6. A Wooden Groove (3:44)
7. Collateral Damage (06:33)
8. Bad Wolf Of The Pack (4:57)
9. Wild Flower (5:29)
10. Mermaids (4:01)
11. Elena (8:25)

Line-up / Musicians

- Stef Flaming / Vocals & Guitars
- Patrick Dujardin / Guitars
- Rene Marteaux / Drums
- Luk Lantin / Bass
- Yolanda Flaming / Keys
- Marie Vancamp / Percussion & Vocals

- Colin Tench / mixing and mastering, guitar on 7

Releases information

Melodic Revolution Records, digital

Thanks to angelo for the addition
and to angelo for the last updates
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MURKY RED No Pocus Without Hocus ratings distribution

(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MURKY RED No Pocus Without Hocus reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Sometimes, it's hard to get into an album - as a listener, or as a reviewer. And in other cases, it just happens naturally. The latter is the case with Murky Red's new album No Pocus without Hocus, and album that I could listen to since 4 weeks before the official release.

With this album, it is clear that Murky Red have grown since their debut - or maybe they just stopped being shy and are no longer holding back on what they have been wanting to play all the time. Of course, they still mix rock and blues, more elements have been added now. Heavy guitar riffs, mixed with melodic guitar solos, a well educated organ, and some nicely mixed in percussion are used to build rock walls, which are interleaved with psychedelic sound trips (no, not soundscapes), surrounding the hypnotising voice of Stef Flaming.

All of that is immediately part of the opening track Pixelated Friends, a slow, dragging piece that only speeds up briefly in the end. The topic of the track is clear from the single line "I smoked all my hashtags with some pixelated friends", which is also a good indication of the looseness and humour the band puts in their lyrics.

This is no different in Stoned And Horny, which talks of similar experiences, but musically is almost a tribute to The Doors, Gong and maybe even some Deep Purple. After a rather rocking, shining opening (the horny part), it moves to the slow, spacey stoned part before exploding again - as if the Unknown Soldier was mixed with The End, after adding bits of Mule. Served in a tea cup... and followed by the indeed hypnotising, Sweet Dark Hypnosis.

It's not all humour though, Murky Red does have a serious side, which shows in the care taken to compose their music, but also in the lyrics of She's Crying Diamonds and Collateral Damage.

The first talks of a woman who seems to have lost a life of luxury, ending in the gutter, where 'the people in the street no longer care'. This is accompanied by a piano, dark guitar riffs and percussion that was described by a listener on my ISCK Rock Radio show as if 'cannibals are playing the drums while making dinner'. With an instrumental midsection that features alternating guitar and keyboard leads around that same rhythm pattern, this is best described as a sad song transformed to psychedelic rock.

The second of these two, Collateral Damage, is an 6.5 minute musical description of the madness of war. Starting out rather melodically, with some guitar parts played by guest musician and producer Colin Tench, it builds up a darker and gloomier mood, with varying guitar parts, war sounds in the background, and a short eight line verse that was written already in in 1993, and that perfectly summarises the madness this is track about:

"Hear the soldiers sing Songs of hope And songs of suffering Hear the children cry See the widow's tears Fill her near-dead eyes This is the pain of a nation In times of war"

The rockier, more straight forward side of Murky Red shows on tracks like Nothing Can Go Wrong, the story of Delilah, which is centered around a heavy, fuzzed guitar mixed with an organ. The instrumental part contains a funny, jumpy bass line that made me skip back a few times. This continues into A Wooden Groove, which is 70s space rock transferred to the 21st century. The lyrics of this one are written by one who smoked too many pine needles, first singing of a tree, then explaining that the remainder of the song (a good 3 minutes) are indeed instrumental.

The last third of the album consists of four quite different tracks, starting with Bad Wolf of the Pack, which opens with a slow Gilmouresque guitar - returning to the old Murky Red adagium that they mix Pink Floyd and blues. Slow vocals, a clean guitar and simple but very fitting percussion (bongos) do the trick here. Not a complicated song at first listen, but I bet every cover band would get it wrong.

Wild Flower has vocals that are carried by keys, drums and bass - and almost no guitar - while the instrumentals feature once again some Flodyian guitar sounds. Over time the track moves away from that sound, without loosing coherence and power. This track was the first single from the album, about 6 months ago, and made a promise that came true now.

Then with Mermaids, the band takes us to the movies, with a piano opening that seems to announce the exciting opening scene of a motion picture that has no Disney label on it. The structure of this song is build around guitar riffs, with the keys playing counter melodies and the bass seems to sing its own melody underneath. I wrote in my review notes that this is music a group of hippies could play on the beach - provided there was power available to plug in their amps. There is no beach in the town of Helecine, where the band comes from, but there is a corn field, so I guess this was recorded there instead.

To close off the album, Elena is nothing short of an ode to Focus, with a guitar and organ driven beginning and end, soldered together by a slow, instrumental mid section where an acoustic guitar plays a melody resembling vaguely Für Elise, before the organ joins in to build a psychedelic sound trip. A sound trip to the ancient city of Troy, that burns for Elena's love. A fitting end to a nice musical journey.

This album is a worthy successor to 2012's Time Doesn't Matter, and it shows a more out-of-the-trodden-path Murky Red. Brilliant guitar work, great organ and bass work, non standard drumming and percussion and a nice mix of humorous and serious lyrics make for a nice musical journey. The production by Colin Tench is on par with that of his own band's Corvus Stone Unscrewed, to complete the picture. No lack of dynamics here (overall Dynamic Range of 12). To top it off, the beautiful, fitting art work by Stef Flaming himself makes the main character Maurice LeMurk into the new band mascotte.

This is not a new master piece, and it wasn't intended to be. Like any human product, it has its flaws, and most of these I expect to be subjective to the listener. I enjoyed it, the past few weeks and will enjoy it more I'm sure. A big step forward for the band, and a big step away from the more straight forward rock on their debut album. Highly recommended.

Also published on my blog

Review by FragileKings
5 stars Over the last decade or so, there has has been a revival in the heavy psychedelic acid rock scene with many new bands adding a modern and updated twist, creating a heavy stoner crunch with occasional aggressive leaps. Bands such as Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Kadavar, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, and Demon Eye have taken the bridging elements between late sixties heavy psych and early seventies downer rock and recreated them in an up to date sound scope.

One band who have very successfully encapsulated that sound in their music, enhancing it with an underlying flow of Pink Floydian tones and applying a progressive approach, is Belgium's Murky Red. Their debut "Time Doesn't Matter" was released in 2012 and has been described as Black Sabbath meets Pink Floyd. By the band's own admission though, the first album didn't truly capture the sound they were going for.

Their new album "No Pocus Without Hocus", released just recently as a digital download for now (CD to come once sales of the digital album reach the goal), sees the band developing their sound more in the intended direction with vocalist/guitarist Stef Flaming stating that the final track Elena is where the band has really managed to flesh out the direction of its sound.

The music on this 11-track offering is quite a treat for anyone who loves music as described in the opening paragraph. Wonderful modern day heavy psych guitars abound with heavy prog tendencies. The rhythm section provides a solid pounding when required with drummer Ren' Marteaux doing an excellent job of driving the heaviness and aggressive edges home as well as appropriately handling the trippier and more melancholy parts with Marie Vancamp augmenting the percussion . However, unlike a lot of bands who concentrate on the heavy stoner side, Murky Red deliver lighter songs as well such as "She's Crying Diamonds", "Bad Wolf of the Pack" (a kind of Pink Floyd meets "Planet Caravan" with a touch of "Green Grass and High Tides Forever" number) and "Wild Flower". In a way, the concept behind the name Iron Butterfly is quite suitable here with Murky Red showing their lighter Butterfly side against the heavy Iron side. The heavy side rears its menacing head with some excellent guitar riffs of the stoner rock variety showing up in "Pixilated Friends", "Stoned and Horny" and "Collateral Damage", as well as in many of the other tracks. You can also look forward to some note and mind bending guitar solos courtesy of Patrick Dujardin.

Special mention must go to Stef Flaming's voice. Though he aspired not to be the band's vocalist, his deep, almost Johnny-Cash-goes-ominous-elder-hippy quality suits the sound of the band just perfectly. Flaming guested as vocalist on Corvus Stone's cover of Murky Red's song "Boots for Hire" and in turn, Corvus Stone guitarist Colin Tench plays lead on this album's track "Collateral Damage". In fact, Tench was responsible for the mixing of both Murky Red albums, and I believe he's done a stellar job of rendering their sound.

A review of this album album would not be complete with saying a few words about the lyrics. Though I honestly haven't listened carefully to each song's lyrics, the humorous and quirky ones do tend to stand out. "I smoked all my hashtags with some pixilated friends," from "Pixilated Friends" is the first to have arrested my ears. As the amusingly titled "Stoned and Horny" floats through a spacey segment, Flaming utters, "For those who don't understand this song, this is the stoned part, oh yeah". "The trick is to get back to the horny," he muses. A "Wooden Groove" begins as a song with lyrics but soon Flaming tells us that, "from now on, this song will be strictly instrumental". Indeed it is with a thundering, cantering thrash conclusion. I have to say that "Mermaids" is also an excellent tune combining the lighter side with the rockier and including the image-conjuring lines, "Mermaids, m-m- m mermaids / fish tails everywhere / mermaids, m-m-m mermaids / fish sticks in the air".

The album No Pocus without Hocus is an excellent piece of work and fans of heavy guitar rock with a thick stoner crust and a Floydian mantle will surely enjoy this. However, those who prefer a more progressive aspiration will not be disappointed, particularly with the closing track, Elena, which is a most worthy prog conclusion to a stellar album. Five stars for simply being as damn flippin' good as it is.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars MURKY RED are from Belgium and they play a heavy brand of Psychedelic music bringing to mind BLACK SABBATH, PINK FLOYD and THE DOORS. The singer has a husky voice and there's plenty of humour in those lyrics despite the often dark and melancholic mood. I thought this band was American after my first spin until I looked it up. Colin Tench(one of PA.s favourites) guests on one track playing guitar but he also mixed and mastered this album to great results.

"Pixelated Friends" is a top three track for me. It opens with drums in a dark atmosphere before this Iommi-like guitar kicks in as the intensity rises. A calm follows as almost whispered vocals join in. Back to the heaviness as contrasts continue. Love the guitar after 2 minutes and the organ a minute later. "Stoned & Horny" is prettty funny as he tells the story of being in a Bar and missing his ride because... well... he's stoned and horny of course. A catchy track and I really like the extended instrumental section that is mostly laid back from before 2 minutes to after 4 minutes.

"Sweet Dark Hypnosis" is kind of doomy as he sings in that slow, deep voice. Organ is added before 2 minutes. "She's Crying Diamonds" is a top three as well. I just really like the piano in this one as it gives a different feel to the music here. Nice guitar solo before 3 1/2 minutes too but it's the vocals and piano that standout overall. "Nothing Can Go Wrong" has distorted guitar and drums early on as the vocals join in. This is dark and somewhat nasty.

"A Wooden Groove" is one of the more energetic tracks on here and it opens with vocals but then before a minute he sings "But from now on this will be strictly instrumental". And yes it's instrumental the rest of the way including some Iommi-like riffs. Man this is good. "Collateral Damage" is my final top three. We actually get some light shining in this song and I like it. A feel good opening and then we get a calm with reserved vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. I like THE DOORS-like keys as well. It kicks in heavily and becomes darker and I dig the guitar after 4 minutes.

"Bad Wolf Of The Pack" doesn't have vocals until just before 2 minutes. I like the percussion and mood of this one. "Wild Flower" is almost ballad-like and my least favourite. I just find it's too long for what it is. "Mermaids" is humerous as he sings about mermaids, fish tails and fish sticks for some reason(haha). "Elena" is the final and longest song on here at almost 8 1/2 minutes. Organ to start as drums and more join in. The organ leads the way here and we get vocals a minute in. It eventually calms right down around the 4 minute mark as we get a FLOYD- like passage. This might be the most interesting song. It picks up 5 minutes in.

Easily 4 stars and a very entertaining listen.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There is something big besides the music itself, that progressive rock has given to me in the recent years: people. This internet era has also a lot of advantages, one of them is to have contact with people from other countries that are far away from one's place, and to have nice chats and get regularly in touch with them. I start saying this because I first knew about Murky Red thanks to Colin Tench, a wonderful man who I've been in contact with for some time, who talked me about this Belgian band and project in which he is also involved. Later, listening to Angelo's (our PA's Angelo) radio show I listened for the first time to a Murky Red's song, and later in the chat, I met Stef and Yolanda flaming, both musicians who are part of this band and who kindly shared to me their music. Now with this brief introduction, I would like to dedicate the review to these four great people.

This is No Hocus Without Pocus, their second and latest album, released in 2015, which features 11 songs that make almost an hour of excellent music. It opens with "Pixelated Friends", a wonderful hard rock oriented track with a very distinctive voice of Stef Flaming, it is dark, somber but amazing, so it perfectly fits and contrasts at the same time with the music created. "Stoned & Horny" has great keyboards that take us to a trip to the 70s, the rhythm is slow but totally trippy and sexy, as the title suggests. The music brings me some memories, because Murky Red take elements of vintage prog, psychedelic rock and hard rock, always with wonderful guitar solos and a sound that any rock fan would enjoy, which is why I felt caught by their music since the first time I listened to it.

"Sweet Dark Hypnosis" has that cool contrast, because sometimes it sounds calm and sweet, and sometimes dark and trippy. The guitar solo after 2:30 is very sensual and at the same time relaxing, so I suggest you to do as I did: close the eyes and feel its charm, though you will open them in the final 30-rockier seconds. "She's Crying Diamonds" is a great track with a slow rhythm for the first two minutes. I love the atmosphere, the dark and tense feeling in the first half, because later the song become faster, exciting and colorful. The band did an excellent job with this song, which is one of my favorites.

"Nothing Can Go Wrong" has a guitar that will take you to the stoner rock realm, and later with the addition of keyboards a totally psychedelic feeling is spread here, with the personal and own Murky Red's dark atmosphere. "A Wooden Groove" does not hide that hard and heavy rock tendency that Murky Red has, and though this is a great song that has vocals in the first minute and then turns completely instrumental (with a faster and heavier ending), I must say this is far from being a favorite of mine. "Collateral Damage", on the other hand, is one of my preferred songs of this album. I love the structure, the changes and all that the instruments can provoke, it is a great musical journey in which I only can smile, move my body at the rhythm of the song and feel satisfied because my soul is being fed with good music. At 2:30 there is a notable change, music vanishes and dark vocals and atmosphere stays for a while. Later it changes again, creating always interesting passages that make me addict to it. Great song!

"Bad Wolf of the Pack" has one of my favorite starting minutes of the whole album, here the first two instrumental minutes are totally delicious, hypnotic, the guitar is wonderful and the atmosphere is charming. Later vocals enter and the deliciousness continues of course, but with a rockier sound that is not that relaxing. The names of Pink Floyd and Dire Straits came to my head here. "Wild Flower" is a slow and calm piece that can be easily enjoyed, it is easy to dig, not that complex but great nonetheless. "Mermaids" has a sympathetic sound at first, the atmosphere reminds me a bit of Alan Parsons Project. Later the rhythm changes, there are guitar solos and nice bass arrangements, and a humorous sense all the way.

The album finishes greatly with "Elena", a wonderful 8-minute track that might be the most vivid example of progressive rock in this album. This is a song I also played in my own radio show and I was happy to see several positive comments from the audience. A great and hypnotic track with great organ, dark vocals and amazing drums and strings; I think they could not have chosen a better track to finish this wonderful album.

Congratulations to Murky Red, they had made me happy with this great release, and now I am eagerly waiting for their next work!

Enjoy it!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars I would personally like to think that the band named this 2015 album after the classic number by Focus, as opposed to the Disney movie, but one never knows these days! According to their site, "Murky Red is a Belgian based band founded in 2009, who combines elements of classic rock, prog rock, blues, stoner, and metal in their music. If their musical style was a human life form, it would be the love child of Deep Floyd, The Black Doors, and Led Sabbath. Slayer and Monty Python were the nannies." Now if that doesn't get you intrigued in what is going on, what will? This album nearly didn't make it, as the band were screwed over by a Canadian promoter/manager which meant their first album looked it was going to be their last. But things worked out and they again worked with producer Colin Tench. Even before listening to this I was already looking forward to it, given the artwork alone, which is incredibly Pythonesque and vibrant.

Musically this doesn't sound as if it was released in 2015, as if I had been asked to guess I would have said it was no later than 1972. It contains fuzzed psychedelia, prog, and a wonderful sense of humour. During "A Wooden Groove", singer (guitaris, keyboard player) Stef Flaming intones "the rest of this song will be instrumental, mental, mental?) and he is right! No more words! I love it when bands refuse to take themselves too seriously, and here we have an album which contains real weight, a solidity of mahogany as opposed to the lightness of something disposable and plastic. At times the band look at each other, then it is heads down and the devil take the hindmost: it isn't Slayer but is the sound of a band having a blast. They can be reflective when they want, but always in that late Sixties/early Seventies vogue, with just the production and some of the guitar sounds letting the listener know that this is actually a modern release and not something from all that time ago. Real music, made by real musicians, this is both accessible and a real grower, and ones that fans of that ear definitely need to seek out.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Can Murky Red be labelled as "prog"? Obviously! This album has been made in the good old tradition of "Good music". Before genres and labels ruined a good idea and effectively narrowed the imaginary rules for great bands. "Sweet Dark Hypnosis" has no similarity to "Elena" for example. Why should ... (read more)

Report this review (#1505571) | Posted by odinalcatraz | Friday, January 1, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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