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The Legendary Pink Dots - Asylum CD (album) cover

ASYLUM

The Legendary Pink Dots

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.80 | 27 ratings

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Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Welcome to the most inconsistent band of all time. I present to you 'The Legendary pink Dots'. Born in England but raised in Holland and developing the weirdest accent you're likely to hear this side of Uzbekistan .

There's never a dull moment with Edward Ka-Spel whose lyrics reveal a man fit for the psychiatrists couch.

'Asylum' was their most ambitious and yet complete recording until this point. There's some great haunted house vocals on 'Femme Mirage' which resembles pale white Victorian faces staring out of mansion windows as plinky plonky piano patters evily in the background, whilst heavily reverberated strings which sound like those used in 'Cannibal Holocaust' flutter around in the background.

One highlight comes early on with the ultra Syd Barrett-like 'The Hill' which describes a sniper outside a schoolyard. I can't believe there's so little reference to Ka-Spel sounding like the old Syd. Close your eyes and every tune this guy sings just sounds like him.

It's all a bit like listening to creepy nursery rhymes where at times it's light and bouncy but is immediately followed by huge slabs of darkness in the lyrics. 'Asylum' has a lot of psychedelia and space-rock at its core. Much of it sounds a bit dated, particularly the keyboards which must have sounded passe even in '85. There is however some excellent usage of violins and strings which sets this apart from their contemporaries.

There's a schizophrenic yet whimsical sound that prevails through the entire recording, where at times there's beautiful strings played in an orchestral manner to be met with such wonderful titles as 'Fifteen Flies in the Marmalade'.

What does it all mean?

'So Gallantly Screaming' has machine guns and a U.S civil war bugle calls to arms. This is where things go a bit mental with chopped up banging and short stabs of electronics coming to the forefront. All the while 'Ka-Spel' plaintively sings tunes from his clearly damaged mind. I guess the amateurish cover makes a bit more sense whilst listening to his insane mutterings.

Things get more bizarre and odd towards the end with string arrangements accompanying the vocal derangements. The last three tracks are superb as they go completely off the rails but remain tuneful. Of particular note is the final track 'This Could be the End' with it's treated violins and mashed up vocals and a whole load of sound effects.

'Asylum' is a lengthy double album with much lunacy, completely crazy lyrics and is superbly played by a group of clearly highly skilled musicians. It's therefore very difficult to give a sensible rating.

Four stars, only just.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |

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