The Vocokesh CD review by Nick Blakey
Jun 26, 2008, 02:29
THE VOCOKESH â€¦all this and Hieronymous Bosch CD
Now don't get me wrong—I like psychedelic music, be it from the 60's or the 80's or the 21st Century. Done right, it can alter your consciousness, blow your mind, and lift your spirits. Done wrong, though, it can come off as nothing more than pseudo-intellectual bullshit full of wanking, pretentiousness, and absurdity. Both conditions of course can be heightened somewhat with the ingestion of certain illegal chemicals, be it for better or for worse.
â€¦all this and Hieronymous Bosch by The Vocokesh falls somewhere in between these two states of being. There's some magnificent guitar playing, the production is solid, and the music often displays some very exquisite labyrinths of sound. John Helwig's manic yet soulful guitar soloing gives some extremely respectful nods here to the guitar work of not only Jimi Hendrix and Harvey Mandel but also Wayne Rogers and Greg Ginn, all brought together quite nicely. Some analogue synth noodlings are thrown in for good measure, along with what's listed as "electronic noise" (in "The Truth Regarding Sunspots") and these add some substance and variation to the songs themselves to decent effect.
However, the album as a whole is a bit of a neatly wrapped, tied, and bundled experience of time marking. The album title's reference to the long dead artist responsible for some Deep Purple and Pearls Before Swine album covers, a quote from "synchronicity" theorist Carl Jung appearing on the back of the CD booklet, along with the late Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett and Love mastermind Arthur Lee's names being tossed about like talisman on the inside of the booklet, can make one wonder why the band couldn't simply let the music and the era it is attempting to evoke speak for itself.Â Perhaps this is why the music often sounds like what you would expect to hear coming out of a car radio or pocket transistor in a made-for-TV movie set in the late 60's, and the occasional bits of sitar do not add a touch of authenticity but rather come across as cheesy and distracting.
â€¦all this and Hieronymous Bosch doesn't really go anywhere, nor does it take you anyplace except up and down the fret-board with some occasional note holding, bending, and plenty of good ol' feedback. Perhaps this is a commentary on the infinite nature of the universe aka "time's arrow," which certainly would not be out of place in the least on a psychedelic album, but something tells me this is not what The Vocokesh were actually going for. [Strange Attractors]