Sunday, November 14, 2004

Edgar Breau-CANADIAN PRIMITIVE CD (Songhammer)

I've gotta big batch of recordings to catch up on as far as reviewin' and satisfyin' a slew of record labels goes (including a buncha new offerings from both Norton and Bomp and I better not keep 'em waitin' too long!) so excuse me while I get the whip out and start cracking away! And what a better way to commence my reviewing spree than by tossing out this newie by longtime BLACK TO COMM faverave Edgar Breau at you. Yeah, you remember Edgar from Simply Saucer, they were that now highly-regarded "proto-punk" group that only got their posthumous just desserts after the release of their now-infamous CYBORGS REVISITED album way back in 1990. Since that release, Simply Saucer have been regarded as one of those brave bands located somewhere in the so-called "Dark Ages" of underground rock (roughly 1968-1976) who, along with such enlightened acts as Rocket From the Tombs, Chinaboise and Umela Hmota, sorta bridged the period between mid-sixties teenage garage band aesthetics and mid-seventies punk revivalism of course getting pretty much nada in the way of fame and fortune during their 1972-1979 lifespan (and that includes during the days when a punk audience would have been more accepting of Saucer's splatter, or so you'd think). Well, since those musically-active days Breau has been in and out of the scene, playing in a mid-eighties reformed Saucer (or actually, "The Third Kind") who rehearsed for three years yet never played a gig because they couldn't get booked anywhere (!), as well as solo or with the Shadows of Ecstasy, but anyhoo after about twenty years of false starts and other amputations here it is...finally! Edgar Breau's one and only album and I don't know how you could have standed waiting for it this long as well.

Spanning the years 1988 to 2004, CANADIAN PRIMITIVE shows just where Edgar has gone since that fateful day in 1979 when he decided to de-tune his electric guitar for good and just go acoustic. (Though the credits list Edgar on electric as well as the old-fashioned kinda guitbox, so who knows?) Those of you expecting the Simply Saucer sound of old will be in for a rude awakening because this ain't the electro-rock a whole lotta you big beat fans are awaitin'. Naw, this is acoustic rock, but not the simpysappy stuff that made mixed-up nature boys wanna run away to Colorado in the's acoustic but maybe in the same way the third Velvet Underground album is, or even PARADIESWARTS DUUL even though CANADIAN PRIMITIVE sounds nothing like either of 'em.

Believe me, this disque really has fooled a lotta people. It even fooled the people at Forced Exposure who won't touch the thing because it doesn't have the Simply Saucer putsch. Well, those guys can distribute whatever they's their company and all and who's to say that someone else should dictate to 'em just what they have to handle...but sheesh, you'd'a thunk they'd have the taste and smarts to appreciate such an engaging, entertaining and downright intense platter as CANADIAN PRIMITIVE. Oh well, I guess there just ain't any accounting for taste!

As far as the actual sounds go, maybe, if you can, imagine a cross between late-sixties John Fahey and solo-period Syd Barrett and the better moments of early Marc Bolan with Michael Hurley lurking in the bushes somewhere, and oh, it ain't anything that sounds like the Raccoon Records catalog but still has a certain earthy appeal to it w/o coming off down-on-the-farm hippie (as if you'd expect anything like that from Breau!). I've heard a good portion of these songs before via live tapes, and although there is something lost in the translation from a live gig recorded at a table to a well-crafted product created in a proper studio, it's sure pleasant hearing these songs once again. The previously-heard by me tracks (like "Precincts," which I believe is about police stations, "Lorraine," "The King of China's Daughter" and Breau's sequel to BILLY BUDD entitled "Handsome Sailor" which for some odd reason reminds me of Hurley's "Robbing Banks" offa HAVE MOICY!) have been major tape-spinning experiences for sure, though I must admit that the newer tracks were the ones that really piqued my attention. Serious aficionados of the form must pay close attention to Breau's Nico elegy entitled (what else but...) "I Miss You My Nico" which is just as good or maybe even superior to the likes of Really Red's own '81 tribute not to mention even ex-Simply Saucer David Nelson Byers and his Shangs' homage entitled "Is She Blond?" from their second, just try finding it CD.

I have a sneaking suspicion that more than a few of your reg'lar blog readers will probably think that CANADIAN PRIMITIVE is just a weak-kneed lily-livered acoustic romp that I'm championing only because there's a self-created connection from the high-energy past to the limpoid present that somehow validates the current fun and games on Breau's behalf. Well, you're partly right, as I am raving this one to the rafters because of the Breau/Simply Saucer link, but that's not the only reason pard! After all, only a Helen Keller would deny that CANADIAN PRIMITIVE isn't a class act brimming with powerful, evocative numbers that rank with the best of the new acoustic music of meaning and worth that I come across once in awhile. I have the feeling that Breau would "fit in" rather well amongst the variety of acts playing the CB's 313 Gallery, and hey, if he were to grace their stage he probably could handily "shut down" many of the acts both good and tepid playing there as well!

FINAL NOTE: don't try getting hold of CANADIAN PRIMITIVE in any of your local faverave alternative musique stores whether you be in the United States or practically any nation outside of Canada. There's pretty much nil distribution or mail order action for this one available mainly because distributors are just a mangy buncha cheats and sheisters blah blah blah (well, a good portion of 'em are!)...but if you do want it bad enough you know where you can get it, mainly directly from Songhammer and I think they take all major credit cards and Paypal even though you'll have to inquire. Anyway, I hope you'll agree (once you get a copy into your moist palms and slam the thing onto your laser launching pad) that CANADIAN PRIMITIVE definitely is one of the better musical offerings that 2004 has given us so far (and for me, its up there with such constantly-played wonders as the new LSD March CD and The Hanuman Sextet CD-R). Just give it a spin...c'mon, has Unca Chris ever let you down??? (OK, I have on more than a few occasions but let's not mention it...)

There might be another review coming down the pike later on today (like I said, I am back-logged), so stay tuned and be real like Don Steele!



Gotta make this one a briefie since I pretty much shot my creative load with the above review (and besides, I can get a little bogged down when I get on a roll and start runnin' off at the mouth, er, keyboard boring all of you readers to pieces in the process!). Anyway, this here's a reissue of the sole album from the reformed more or less Mirrors that originally came out some time in the hazy recessess of my mind (1989?, 1990?) on Semaphore over in Holland, but now it's available for all of you folks who either missed out on it the first time around (it never was that easy to get hold of in the US of Whoa), or just want a digital take since the original's way buried under years of vinyl strata like it is in my collection. Those of you expecting the primitive-yet-artistic approach of the original 1971-75 Mirrors will be let down, for these tracks (along with a huge hunk of never-before unleashed tuneage) are total trash/thud rockers with enough of the seventies swagger of the original group to keep your attention held for more than a few minutes. From newly-written future-faves to remakes of classic seventies Mirrors (and Styrenes) chestnuts, ANOTHER NAIL IN THE REMODELED COFFIN should excite more than a few of us who've been in on the game for what, twenty-five...THIRTY years??? Most striking moment (for me anyway): the new version of "Girls Will Be Girls" (a.k.a. "Girls Girls Girls") which takes a mighty hard crash and burn approach compared with the Styrene Money Band original yet still zones me especially with that "Eight Miles High"-influenced guitar sound courtesy head Mirror Jamie Klimek.

1 comment:

NIL_VOIT said...

...Never mind the States, try finding it here in Canada!
We have distribution up here, but the stores are extremely reluctant to stock it.
On the upside: off-stage sales have been brisk...
Miriam Linna: a great Finno-Canadian! Don't You just LOVE her????