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Alvarius B And Cerberus Shoal - The Vim And Vigour Of Alvarius B And Cerberus Shoal

  by Andrew Carver

published: 3 / 9 / 2003



Alvarius B And Cerberus Shoal - The Vim And Vigour Of Alvarius B And Cerberus Shoal
Label: North East Indie
Format: CD

intro

Highly impressive second offering in split CD series which has Cerberus Shoal collaborating with other like-minded rural psychedelic artists, and this time around with Alvarius B


I would say that Cerberus Shoal’s work with Alvarius B (a.k.a. Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls) is the pick of the three splits that Cerberus Shoal has recently released with other similar rural-psychedelic artists, but this critical judgment must take into account the fact that the promo CD I received skips on one of the tracks. What I can hear, however, is more than worth it. Alvarius starts the proceedings with a rendition of the Cerberus Shoal -penned 'Ding'; then a pair of his own tunes, 'Blood Baby' and 'Viking Christmas'. The Cerberus Shoal provide their own versions of the three songs. Mr. B speak-sings over acoustic guitar, with occasional accompaniment from a howling spectral choir. Whether the tone is creepy ('Blood Baby') or dreamy ('Viking Christmas'), the lyrics of Bishop’s own tunes are gory in the extreme. This is mighty weird, but by no means inaccessible. Cerberus Shoal’s rendition of the songs starts off with a carnivalesque take on 'Blood Baby', which was pretty carnivalesque to start with. As the credits note, they use an extra-large church organ, which may be why they remind me of Rev. Glasseye and his Wooden Legs. The six-member Shoal obviously turn in a fuller rendition of the tune, with marimba, brass, trilling woodwinds and stately percussion ably supporting the vocal harmonies. 'Viking Christmas' starts off as a family singalong — well, if you’re family is composed of sanguinary marauders, it is. Background crowd noise (conversation, rattling glasses) cuts in and out with a loud thump to dislocating effect Shoal’s rendition of 'The Real Ding' begins with the sounds of a typewriter, then acoustic guitar, then a lone female vocalist. Occasional background sounds provide extra colour, though they aren’t really necessary. At the 6 minute mark, extra voices kick in, along with a boinging mouth harp and some melodic percussion — the entire track goes on for close to 10 minutes. This definitely the strongest instalment in the three-part series, a must have for Sun City Girls and Cerberus Shoal fans alike, as well as a fine stand alone work.  Like the other CDs in the series, it is packaged with a nice wraparound cardstock cover in a flexible plastic sleeve; a transparent inner sleeve depicts a curious buffalo examining a giant periwinkle with a turbanned human head ... or at least, that’s what I think it is ....



Track Listing:-
1 Alvarius B– Ding
2 Alvarius B– Blood Baby
3 Alvarius B– Viking Christmas
4 Cerberus Shoal– Blood Baby
5 Cerberus Shoal– Viking Christmas
6 Cerberus Shoal– The Real Ding



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