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Pubert Brown Fridge Occurence - Once And Future Thing

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 25 / 10 / 2004

Pubert Brown Fridge Occurence - Once And Future Thing
Label: Laughing Outlaw
Format: CD


Debut "concept album of sorts" from remarkably-titled Australian group Pubert Brown Fridge Occurence, which proves to be "possibly the best take on 60’s pyschedelia we’ve heard in some years"

A quick survey of those around me reveals that one of the Beatles less liked songs would be ‘Eight Days A Week’. Which is fine by yours truly as it would certainly rank in the top 5 Beatles songs which didn’t quite cut it if I were to make such a list (that’s excluding by the way any song the drummer sang ; Mr. Starkey’s best work was definitely post Fab Four). So it’s a total surprise that The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence (from now on referred to as PBFO) open this album with a version of that song that actually hits home on the very first listen. Thankfully they haven’t heavy handled the song like say Vanilla Fudge were so fond of doing on songs such as ‘Ticket To Ride’, PBFO have just transported the song from the ‘Beatles For Sale’ album to the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ E.P. and in doing so have created a minor psychedelic classic. Now if rhe Beatles had held onto the song for a couple of years and issued it on that E.P. with this inspired arrangement it would have appeared in the best of lists instead of the worst of. But where does that leave the other 10 songs on the album? They are all original compositions by head PBFO man Steve Lucas and they actually hold up extremely well against the songs Lennon/McCartney, Roy Wood, Marriott/Lane or indeed Ray Davies were writing during the second half of the 60's. Lucas, of the Australian version of the band X, has teamed up with Geoff Holmes, also from X, Jim Dickson from Birdman, Rebecca Hancock and one John Butler on drums (who plays brilliantly throughout) to produce what is possibly the best take on 60’s pyschedelia we’ve heard in some years. Better even than the Andy Partridge effort under the Dukes Of Stratosphear banner and wiping the floor with Andrew Gold’s similar ‘The Fraternal Order Of The All’. Of course what Laughing Outlaw Records should have done is released the album as a long lost classic of the 60's which had only just come to light and copies would be flying off the shelves. The album is apparently a concept album of sorts, the story centres around the moods and feelings which Pubert Brown –Fridge was experiencing on the last day of his life. What exactly happened to him is somewhat of a mystery; what is clear is that this album is like no other released this year and recalls the fun, carefree times when innocence still prevailed and anything seemed possible. The ‘acid test’ of albums such as this is whether they could stand proud against albums actually made at the time that these songs recreate. The answer in this case is a resounding yes. ‘Ogdens Nut Gone Flake’ by The Small Faces is an obvious touchstone and there are songs on here which easily match those on that ‘concept’ album. ‘A Once And Future Thing’ is not a better album than that Small Faces classic, but it’s every bit as good. As a whole it’s the Hollies ‘Butterfly’ fluttering through ‘Itchycoo Park’ before taking a turn down ‘Blackbery Way’ and finally resting in ‘Strawberry Fields’. Steve Lucas really has a knack of capturing the feel of the psychedelic 60's like no other. Vocally he has a really strong voice, his guitar playing is absolutely superb and the odd touches he adds here and there like the recorders on ‘Sleepy Jane’ are the work of a genius. ‘Come Friday Afternoon’ is a perfect slice of lazy psychedelia complete with a nagging guitar line and has Lucas showing a more gentle side to his vocals. A late Friday afternoon next summer; hammock, a nice cold beer and this song on the headphones. If that doesn’t mellow you up for the weekend nothing will. The snatches of sound effects like cuckoo clocks and a version of ‘Greensleeves’ played on a xylophone which has more than a few false starts all add to make this album sound like an authentic 60's recording. The fun the band obviously had making this album shines through every note played. The main problem with the Small Faces was that occasionally they allowed their liking for British music hall to take over at times but it didn’t always work and could sometimes grate at times PBFC also have that tendency. It’s a minor flaw, and for some reason they seem to be able to get away with it more than the Small Faces did, but with songs as strong as the Kinks influenced ‘Bottle Of Gin’ or the ballad and former X song ‘Don’t Cry No Tears’ we forgive then the odd lapse now and again. This album is so much better than all those 60's compilations which are arriving week after week and recycling everything we’ve heard and bought before. It casts a new welcome light over the whole psychedelic music scene so next time you’re tempted to pay out for the latest compilation of the authentic thing buy this album instead. You can’t miss it in the racks, it even looks like it was designed way back then. I’d lend you mine but the CD is rarely out of the player and you’d have problems prising the case out of my hands.

Track Listing:-
1 Eight Days a Week
2 Sleepy Jan
3 Come Friday Afternoon
4 Make it Happen
5 Bite the Sun
6 The Ice Cream Song
7 Love is a Virus
8 The One You Love
9 Bottle of Gin
10 Neon and Venom
11 Don't Cry No Tears

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