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KingBathmat - Fantastic Freak Show Carnival CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.17 | 43 ratings

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4 stars To think that this album represents the work of just one man, is something of a mindblower. Ranging from lush orchestral pop to free roaming prog excess, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival sounds at times like an insane mash up between the Electric Light Orchestra, Led Zeppelin and The Verve while at other times like Mercury Rev jamming with Spiritualized. The opening salvo, GHOST IN THE FIRE, manages to mix skeletal guitar lines to ghost train style chanting in a song that sounds like Richard Ashcroft scoring an episode of Scooby Doo, while the title track FANTASTIC FREAK SHOW CARNIVAL is the sound of Liam Gallagher fronting Queen, while Rush offer some prog rocking advice in the background. After the bombastic opening, REJECTED eases into something of an introspective mood recalling Led Zeppelin at their most pastoral and gentile - although with controlled explosions into the big choruses, this is a mood that definitely has its swings. KINGS RANSOM, sees John Bassett continuing the anthemic prog rock offensive, this time melding The Beatles to Queens Of The Stone Age - a trick only slightly let down by some less than inspiring lyrical content and forced sounding vocals at times, while SWEET IRIS, is a dreamy Brian Wilson-esque slice of exquisite pop that is nothing less than sublime. Representing something of a misfire, SIMPLETON KNOW IT ALL, echoes those mediocre US college rock bands that seem to clog up teen-angst movie soundtracks like Sixpence None The Richer and The Wallflowers, all polish and pristine melodies, no feeling or soul. The epic album closer, SOUL SEARCHING SONG, weighs in at the impressive eleven minute mark and fortunately has the ideas and imagination to go the distance. Grooving between staccato prog rock guitar riffs, dreamy ambience and forays into avant garde instrumentalism via hard rock, this is a song that sounds like a million ideas thrown into one, blended together, spat out and then spiked with mind altering drugs - like The Beatles reinterpreted by Pink Floyd and remixed by The Orb. An impressively diverse and fascinating piece of work, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival is a record that is never anything less than interesting. Yes, it does occasionally lapse into weaker territory and the influences can be a little overpowering at times, but nevertheless this is an album that constantly surprises and pleasantly wrong foots you. At times more experimental and diverse than it is coherent and consistent, Fantastic Freak Show Carnival, is a fascinating peek into the world King Bathmat inhabit and as such represents something of a sublime curiosity. If you like the sound of Pink Floyd wrestling with Kasabian, then King Bathmat will rock your world - and the fact that this is the work of one man working on his own is a fact that can only let you dare dream where this sound can go in the future.

| 4/5 |


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