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Kingston Wall - Kingston Wall I CD (album) cover

KINGSTON WALL I

Kingston Wall

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.36 | 91 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This debut album of legendary Kingston Wall brought attention for both progressive and psychedelic music in Finnish media, as the band was quite successful and popular here. Though the main drive is on quite basic vintage hard rock orientation, the referred more underground tones are also certainly present, thus giving a pleasant surprise for band of such characteristics gaining fame in a land dominated by playlists and pop. Gigs on big rock festivals are possibly one promoting factor, but the fine quality of songs like "With My Mind", "Used to Feel Before" and "Waste of Time" redeem the expectations even without promotions with psych oriented guitar solos and catchy verses. "Nepal" dives further to surreal spheres reaching over eight minutes duration, its main rock passage rising from an Indian-oriented walls of sound, and then diving to waves of laid back parts with Hawkind reminding tones coloring the background.

I'm bit troubled by the cover version of Jimi Hendrix's "Fire", I guess the original version from The Experience is bit too sacred for me. This version is still quite good, being very similar to the original song, except that there is a small reggae arrangement at the end of it, which works well. The band also played this on their gigs along with the other tunes of the innovating guitar master. The biggest entity on the disc is "Mushrooms", which is over 21 min long epic. This fungus composition is built up from separate tracks, so the listener could navigate the different parts easily. There are some tighter rockier parts with singing, and long psychedelic instrumental jams. The beginning is promising, but I got bit bored during the fourth and fifth parts.

The Zen Garden re-issue of this album has a small bonus CD on it, which has a live recording from their gig at Marathon, Helsinki 1991. The sound quality is decent, but the singing isn't very audible. I also fear there are some edits (in and out fades) in it; For example the shift from the ethnic sound wall of "Freak-Out Intro" and the following Hendrix cover "Purple Haze" sounds unnatural. Other covers here are J.J.Cale's "Call Me The Breeze", Lennon/McCartney composition "Rocky Raccoon" and "Western Plain. To be frank, I felt these sounded quite repulsive redneck songs, and the good players didn't save them. Possibly the experience of these performings might have felt different from the audience, these expressions limited now only to their documents heard from the home stereo. And it is of course interesting to hear this band's live performances, as in my opinion they did their stuff more successfully on stage than at the studio. But I wouldn't recommend hunting the re-issue CDs just because of these bonus tracks.

I think there is much potential on this album, and I do not object it's meaning as an historical record for Finnish music scene. But to be honest, this album never grew very important for myself, and I never got much inspiration for listening to it. Most of the fine songs on this album worked better on their triple live CD in my opinion.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 3/5 |

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