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MURKY RED

Crossover Prog • Belgium


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Murky Red biography
Murky Red was founded in 2009, by Stef Flaming. Their music, as they describe it themselves, is a love child of Deep Floyd, The Black Doors, and Led Sabbath; Slayer and Monty Python were the nannies. That sums up the no-nonsense approach of the band: classic rock, mixed with psychedelics, a bit of metal and a large dose of true Belgian humour, combined in such a way that it fits the progressive rock moniker.

Their debut album 2012, called Time Doesn't Matter was a mix of classic rock, blues and Pink Floyd, released on Melodic Revolution Records.
After a nasty experience with a fraudulent Canadian promotor/manager (last seen in the Montreal jail, luckily), which cost them a lot of money, and a period of illness and loss, they returned in 2015 with their second album, No Pocus without Hocus. On this album, the band decided to leave the trodden paths a bit further and allow more experimental and progressive influences in the music - exploiting the creative mind of Stef Flaming to its full potential.
Both albums were mixed and mastered by Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP, Ocean's 5, Coalition, Minstrel's Ghost, Transmission Rails), who also performed a guest role on guitar, on the second album.

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MURKY RED discography


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MURKY RED top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 10 ratings
Time Doesn't Matter
2012
3.93 | 65 ratings
No Pocus Without Hocus
2015

MURKY RED Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MURKY RED Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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MURKY RED Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MURKY RED Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 No Pocus Without Hocus by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 65 ratings

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No Pocus Without Hocus
Murky Red Crossover Prog

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!

 No Pocus Without Hocus by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 65 ratings

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No Pocus Without Hocus
Murky Red Crossover Prog

Review by odinalcatraz

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 it? The album varies from sounding like the Doors, to Sabbath & even Floyd. It wanders into "true" Progressive (not for radio) and then there are the lyrics! They are completely crazy when they feel like doing that. I am no fan of airy fairy lyrics. I like silly ones. They stand out when they are clever and they certainly are here. This brings back memories of when The Beatles, Stones, Zep, Purple, Tull etc etc, kept us all guessing what they would do next. They broke the commercial rules and it was fun. All of that proved, in time, to be commercial after all. Just look at the reviews of all that old stuff here on PA! Unfortunately, that approach ended many years ago in the commercial world and sadly, even for prog! Murky Red fit perfectly in that family of bands that made music for fun. Let me call it "Prog for the people" Let me state that I am Colin Tench and I mixed this album, so yes I am involved. The music is not mine and most of it, not even close to what I play or listen to most of the time. This review is very real and I didn't try to write it until I re-listened to it, months after it was completed, without mixing in mind. I mixed but did NOT create the sound. That is all Murky Red. First reason for this 5 star rating is that is sounds "nice". Nice???????? Yes it does. I seem to be in a minority of people who can't stand modern extreme compression on most music. It destroys the friendly sound and balance that naturally occurs in any noise made by acoustic and electric instruments and more importantly, drums. No Pocus without Hocus has a warm, real sound created by Stef Flaming in his choice of instruments percussion and combination thereof, so of course it takes me back to the 60s/70s. I rarely review anything and again, that is because I hate music made loud by limiting and massive compression. It sounds great for a while then I turn it off due to the harshness or even nastiness and wonder why an amazing album has yet again, been made un-listenable to me. To give a reference, my favourite albums of 2015 are Hand Cannot Erase, Story Tellers pt 1 and No Pocus without Hocus. None of them are perfect but all of them are outstanding musically and sonically. Rare indeed!

 No Pocus Without Hocus by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 65 ratings

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No Pocus Without Hocus
Murky Red Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 No Pocus Without Hocus by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 65 ratings

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No Pocus Without Hocus
Murky Red Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Time Doesn't Matter by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 10 ratings

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Time Doesn't Matter
Murky Red Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Belgium band MURKY RED was formed in 2010 by Stef Flaming, Yolanda Flaming and Tom Kockelmans, and for the next year or so a settled line-up slowly but surely crystallized after the often customary comings and goings of band members in a formative phase. As soon as they had cemented their line-up they hit the studio, and towards the end of 2012 their debut album "Time Doesn't Matter" was released through US indie label Melodic Revolution Records.

I'll readily admit that finding the suitable words to describe this production is a challenging task, and one that I might never really be able to truly master. This is due to the vast myriad of subtle influences these guys and gals pulls in from here, there and everywhere, the majority of which resides well inside the so-called classic rock universe in general and the 1970's section of this one in particular. A musical universe where I have limited exposure, while I'm pretty sure that most if not all band members of Murky Red know that part of the rock universe just about as well as their own trouser pockets. My small write-up is limited to what I'm familiar with myself, which will make my associations and observations a bit of a hit and miss affair. Just to get this to the table straight away.

In general I'd describe the style of this band as one that by and large is Pink Floyd influenced though. Dark, melancholic guitar textures combined with longing, light toned guitar soloing in warm, organic arrangements kind of makes comparisons of this kind a given. Subtle but clever use of keyboards emphasize this association, although in the case of Murky Red the cosmic inspired sounds are by and large missing. They do venture out into slightly psychedelic oriented waters at times though, but when doing so they come across as a band much closer to The Doors actually, but the deep-timbered vocals and distinct delivery of Stef Fleming just as much responsible for that association as the instrument part of the arrangements admittedly. Murky Red will also take on a harder edged expression at times, and on compositions such as Boots For Hire name-dropping Black Sabbath as a more than possible influence should be fairly safe. But this is a band and an album that first and foremost has a Floydian atmosphere to it.

What sets this band apart from many others exploring similar waters is the emphasis they have on the blues though. There's a firm emphasis on blues oriented musical details through and through, and by the string based instruments in particular. Gary Moore is mentioned as an influence by the band themselves, but it's tempting to throw in some Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea to that pool of names as well, the former perhaps more than the latter. One might say that Murky Red is a Pink Floyd inspired band that have opted to replace the cosmic instrument details with the blues. At least that is a description that I'm fairly comfortable with. I'll know soon enough what the band themselves feel about that one too I guess.

A last tiny bit of comparison to make is one that too me a while to recall. While I listened through this rather impressive debut by Murky Red, my aging brain cells kept sending signals to my mind to dig into my musical memories for a band with a similar although not directly comparable expression. The band in question is now defunct Norwegian outfit Madrugada, and specifically their debut album "Industrial Silence". A production that share many similar features to this initial creation of Murky Red, the dark and longing moods in particular. Without being directly comparable, but at least on an emotional and atmosphere level I suspect that fans of one will like the other as well.

My conclusion is that "Time Doesn't Matter" is a strong debut album that should have a wide appeal. Fans of late 70's Pink Floyd appears to be something of a key audience, especially those who tend to enjoy the darker side of this universally well known band and in particular if they also have a certain affection for the good, old blues. In addition I'd recommend fans of Norwegian band Madrugada to give this one a spin, and in particular those who find their first album to be the most intriguing of that band's release history.

 Time Doesn't Matter by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.56 | 10 ratings

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Time Doesn't Matter
Murky Red Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Belgium is just across the border from where I live. Belgium is also the country where Pink Floyd, Gary Moore, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors and Lynyrd Skynyrd live. They all live in the house of Stef and Yolanda Flaming, and the houses of their band members in Murky Red. Actually, in the dark 1960's and 1970's I suspect various members of aforementioned bands got together in some weird orgy that led to the procreation of Stef, Yolanda and their fellow band members Patrick Dujardin, Luk Lantin, Rene Marteaux and Marie Vancamp. There is no other way to explain the influences of all these bands in the music of Murky Red.

The starts immediately in the first track, I Came A Long Way, which starts as a rock song, but quickly goes into a slightly psychedelic mood, topped by a Pink Floyd like instrumental section, with a guitar solo in the same vein.

In the follow up On New Year's Day, Stef sings about what we all want - peace on earth and fireworks to celebrate on New Year's day. This is accompanied by another mellow, slightly psychedelic acoustic guitar initially, but a wall of guitars is quickly build up to make this into a very solid, dark rock song.

The slow dark guitar track Galadriel is something completely different. There is a guitar riff in the opening that reminds faintly of Black Sabbath's Iron Man, and the feeling of the song is as dark as that one, until suddenly not Iron Man but Iron Maiden takes over, with a Wasted Years like guitar supported by a growling bass. That builds into an almost symphonic piece, with keyboards, bass and a choir like backing vocal support a melodic guitar solo and the voices of Stef and Yolanda repeating the list line of the song.

Then the scene changes and we find ourselves in the land of the blues, with Cold Outside. This song starts as a slow blues, where the guitar seems to be based on a marriage between Gary Moore and David Gilmour. How much mo(o/u)re can you put in single song? The deep, and slightly raw voice of Stef tells a real blue story, making this a great blues rock track.

I give my soul puts another set of options in the mix. This is a 70's rock track, which reminds me of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, but with Yolanda on vocals it also brings to mind Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie. And again... a Gilmouresque guitar solo.

Then it's time to leave the planet, on a spacy trip to Saturn. This is a somewhat heavy psychedelic rock track, with lyrics that seem like a prayer to the planet with the rings. No Moore or Gilmour here, but loud, dirty guitars near the end, and a surprising little piece of horror movie piano after everything else falls silent at the end.

Back on earth, we jump in Stef's car and drive off to Last Chance Hotel, which is best described as a 'Lynyrd Skynyrd meets The Stooges and The Doors on their craziest tracks'. Up tempo, with a fun guitar riff, this track is all over the place. We can only thank Yolanda for taking us to a more quite place on the next track Willow Tree, so that we can dry up from that sweaty road trip. A beautiful, relaxed track that makes you think 'who was Sally Oldfield'? The backing vocals by Stef are so subtle, certainly for such a big man, that they almost go unnoticed, but have to be there at the same time to make the song complete.

The last three tracks are the best part for me, starting with the dark, sturdy and slightly heavy Boots for Hire, yet partly inspired by (really, Stef said so!) Father Abraham's Smurph Song. Listen carefully, and see if you notice... This track starts as slow psychedelic rock, but develops into a heavy blues rock, with great driving bass play, while Stef utters the weirdest lyrics on this album. What do you mean, 'plastic bitches in repair'??

Heal My Bleeding Heart starts a 6/8 blues rock track, with vocals that initially remind me of Ozzy Osbourne, but it quickly develops into something that is more in the vein of Pink Floyd's The Wall. Maybe this is where the band decided to describe their music as 'Pink Floyd meets the blues'. Yet again, a song featured by a very slick guitar solo. This track features Colin Tench on guitars - who also is responsible for the superb mixing and mastering of this album.

Closing track Black Beast Rising once again confirms the link to psychedelic space rock. It's slow, dark, yet melodic in a way and builds up what some would call a sound scape underneath Stef's vocals.

Murky Red have their own sound, which is a mix of all of the above, in different combinations. Still, everything seems to fit together, resulting in an album that contains varied sounds, but always recognisable as Murky Red. We had a discussion on coherence on albums on ProgArchives.com recently - I think this album would've been a good show case here.

Tracks that impressed me most are, as said, the last three and Cold Outside. I'm curious to the next album, which is due later this year if all goes as planned. Recommended for anyone who likes to try something new, but also likes the old.

 No Pocus Without Hocus by MURKY RED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 65 ratings

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No Pocus Without Hocus
Murky Red Crossover Prog

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 www.angelosrockorphanage.com

Thanks to angelo for the artist addition.

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