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H.P. Lovecraft - Lovecraft / H.P. Lovecraft II  CD (album) cover

LOVECRAFT / H.P. LOVECRAFT II

H.P. Lovecraft

 

Proto-Prog

3.38 | 8 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars When I was young I had a poster. It was the poster of a concert of Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart and H.P. Lovecraft. Being a fan of the writer I've always been curious about this band, too early for me to hear them on vinyl, so about two years ago I have found this compilation as nice price in a supermarket (incredible, isn't it?) and this is still all I have of this band.

I was expecting something more "horrorific" than this early psychedelia, but I like psych so I'm not disappointed at all. In terms of horrorific music, I think that Arzachel's Azatoth and mainly Shub Niggurath's "Yog Sototh" are more in line with the novels and the characters of the Providence's night owl.

The presence of a brass section is the link to the American R&B of the 60s. "Wayfaring Stranger" is enough to understand where we are. This song has an early psychedelic flavor deeply dated in its time and a bit of Grateful Dead influence.

I''ve been surprised by "Let's Get Together" because it's a song I already knew without knowing who the author was. The flute was an unusual instrument but it's not used in a very "progressive" way as Moody Blues started doing followed by Jethro Tull.

"I've Been Wrong Before" is the first song which deserves the attribute of proto-prog. It's possible that Roger Waters has been influenced by this song for Julia Dream. Or possibly it's just the flute which is very similar.

The following song "The Drifter" it's a typical west coast psych song with the brasses adding a touch of R&B. The bass line and the keyboard, however are remarkable. The first reminds to Pink Floyd again: a line that seems taken from a spy movie like on Lucifer Sam and a keyboard with a vibrato which sounds like Rick Wright on The Piper.

"That's The Bag I'm in" is a psych song less than two minutes long. Not bad.

"The White Ship" is another highlight. When a band of this kind writes a song longer than 3 minutes, and this scores above six, they have surely something interesting to put into it. Basing on this track only we may think to a full prog category. It's a song that could stay on the Renaissance's debut album. Between Yardbirds and prog folk with the keyboard playing a bolero tempo like the "It's A beautiful Day" on "Salaam Bombay".

"Country Boy and Bleeker Street" has a bit of funk and a very good guitar plus a very acid keyboard. Nice song between Jerry Garcia and the Doobie Brothers.

"The Time Machine" is a kind of a joke. A piano ragtime with the voice filtered by a megaphone which becomes a swing in New Orleans style. Arlo Guthrie was a master with this kind of things.

Another full prog song: "That's How Much I Love You Baby". A jazzy thing full of blues on which the band plays an excellent vocal performance. The guitar is as clean as a jazz guitar should be.

A short "gregorian chant" for 30 seconds, then "Spin Spin Spin". This is another song which would deserve a full prog category: prog folk. If anybody knows the very unfortunate band "Chimera", this song reminds to me the excellent works of Lisa Bankoff and Francesca Garnett but also Linda Perhacs. A pity the piano coda faded out.

"It's About Time" is another (relatively) long song of over 5 minutes. An acid song with semi- operatic vocals. I mean that it could stay in a musical soundtrack, I think to Hair. However it has the first very "psychedelic as we know it" instrumental part. In case Pink Floyd will decide to reunite, this Dave Michaels could be a perfect replacement for our beloved Rick Wright.

"Blue Jack Of Diamonds" is another excellent acid folk song. This second album is surely of more interest for proggers. Also the following "Electrollentando" deserves a mention. Somebody can call me mad, but this sounds quite Krautrock to me.

The first real reference to the writer to whom the band is inspired comes with "At The Mountains of Madness" that's also the title of one of the HPL novels. Effectively the high pitched organ and the discordant sounds give the idea. Loops, reversed tapes, this song is not at the level of the Arzachel's Azatoth but is good enough.

"Moebius Trip" is another good early psych song made of acoustic guitar and choir supported by a piano. Son of its times.

"High Flying Bird" has a different instrumentation but looks like the follow-up to the previous song. I'm imagining how Chappo Chapman's voice could have sounded with this band. They are not much far from Family in this second album of the compilation.

45 seconds of psych in Hawkwind style: a bass voice repeats zero while a narrator speaks about "Nothing's Boy".

"Keeper Of The Keys" is another title referring to HPL (the writer) and the song reminds to the Family more than anything else on this compilation.

Two bonus tracks complete the compilation: "Anyway That You Want Me" and "It's All Over For You". Listening to those two songs I have the impression that they may have been a single published before the two albums. The first is a song of a kind the 60s were full of. The second could be early Rolling Stones or the Animals (in particular their cover of Bob Dylan's "It's all over now Baby Blue").

Some songs are very good, but even with some songs which could seem seminal I think this compilation fits well in the "good but non essential" definition, but if you like the genre it's an album which can deserve some bucks with no regrets. I have personally enjoyed it a lot.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |

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