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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 "Roll up and join the queue / To the Fantastic Freak Show Carnival," beckons John Bassett on the title track to his latest release as KingBathmat. Perhaps Bassett wishes his summons could be an invitation to escapism like the Beatles song to which it alludes, but the claustrophobic, deteriorating environment of his music isn't easy to run from. Fantastic Freak Show Carnival's psych-arena rock -- big, blunt Bends-ian chords cuddled by extravagant ELO harmonies -- feels haunted from the inside out. Bassett (who performs all instrument duties on the record) has a flair for wicked hooks, which rear their infectious heads periodically: the electrifying "Ghost in the Fire", the ballad "Sweet Iris", and "King's Ransom", which contorts like prog and thrills like power pop. While KingBathmat's music is beautifully moody, it also tends to be overly indulgent at times: The 11-minute closing track "Soul Searching Song" comes off like King's X tackling 2112. Like all freak shows, this one's got some fantastic stuff if you can get past some of the squeamishly decadent.
| 4/5 |


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