Dredd Foole-KISSING THE CONTEMPORARY BLISS 2-CD set (Family Vineyard)
I know how tough it is to be honest with you readers, but I must confess to each and every one of you a little bitta hard-swallowing truth that you just might fine hard to believe yourself. Here goes...when this latest release from Boston-area Velvets-obsessive (right up there with Jonathan Richman and even Wayne McGuire if you can believe that!) Dan Ireton a.k.a. Dredd Foole popped up in the same Family Vineyard package that gave us the Terrill CD and O-Type empty box set reviewed earlier, I had this preconceived notion that I wasn't gonna like the thang one iota. Pretty much outta stubborn principle too, because although I heard and enjoyed Mr. Foole's previous post-Din bashes I kinda felt like I shoulda been giving the guy what for, if only for forsaking the realm of good ol' straight-ahead rock & roll for a music that I have no qualms against, but it sure ain't what the guy used to dish out! Given the lack of high-energy jamz we have to go through these days heads would roll if I have any say!
Unless your name is Karen Quinlan, you probably can tell that I sure long for the days when the Velvets credo was still taken seriously enough to have produced some mighty fine recordings! And I'm not talking about the caramel color drek that has been performed by nerks with coke bottle glasses and neuroses that make Joni Mitchell look normal in comparison, but that grand suburban squall that made many a teenage zitcrop believe in themselves, enough that they too could form their own bands and play their variation on the form and it all sounded great until the entire style tumbled into the abyss of Neo-Marvian copycat dross. So please forgive the vitriol that I sometimes spew forth, but right now if I wanna get any hard-rock high energy Velvet kicks I know where to look, mainly thirty-plus years back when such music was truly the soundtrack for more than a few misguided and confused teenbos out there in ranch house land!
Foole looks a whole lot older than he did in those FORCED EXPOSURE snapshots and old press releases, and with his wire rims and long white hair he resembles the old hippoid postal worker who finally got to retire after thirtysome years only to spend his free time hanging out at the flea market. But hey, looks can be deceiving for the guy can still cook hot zoomba when he wants to. With a band consisting of a mess of acoustic pluckers, jugs, flutes and esoterica galore, Ireton does his bestest in creating a melange that comes off 1966 Stockhausen at one point before meandering off into STARSAILOR density the next, wrapped in a nice ball of atonal glee that owes as much to Mahogany Brain as it does Ritual All 7-70.
It's actually hard to describe the sounds here and peck them out using my under-developed ape-like brain, but I sure can osmose to the way Foole and band can switch around from Sondheim-esque blues and country twang to space-y soundscapes (some akin to Guru Guru on side-two of UFO!) with affected vocals adding an eerie ambience to my already fuzzed-out nerve endings, though the entire shebang didn't interfere with my nightly CD-spinning/fanzine reading one bit. I probably will not be playing this much in the future (not black enough), but it sure does make for that once-in-awhile realignment.
I remember calling Foole's previous effort a "doo wah classic" and KISSING THE CONTEMPORARY BLISS ain't one to deviate from the form. And even if it ain't high-energy Boston-styled Velvet-rock I'm not gonna deny that it ain't a bad effort, and in fact puts to shame a lotta similar-minded experimental quap that's been released over the past few decades. But sheesh Mr. Foole, how about doing some of that old hard-driving rock & roll for us fans just so's we don't starve to death?!?!?
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