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Icarus Peel’s Acid Reign - The Window on the Side of Your Head

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 17 / 7 / 2018



Icarus Peel’s Acid Reign - The Window on the Side of Your Head
Label: Mega Dodo
Format: CD

intro

Exuberant latest album from psychedelic-influenced Welsh musician Icarus Peel whose new power trio provide a hefty dose of Hendrix-inspired rock


We’ve bought them all, sometimes more than once, in the hope that the new remastered sound or whatever claim that particular edition is making will allow us to somehow hear something that we had not heard before, even though we have listened to that particular album many times previously. And, for the most part, we are left disappointed. I’m talking about the small but innovative trio of albums released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience during the guitarist’s short lifetime. We’ve also bought every compilation that mainly just recycles old tracks that we’ve already got in the hope that the magic that shone so brightly on those three albums would shine through again. It could still happen of course; the latest official compilation of Hendrix’s work, ‘Both Sides of the Sky’, is one of the best yet released. So what has this to do with The Honey Pot’s Icarus Peel’s new album? It appears that Peel, who often takes excursions into unchartered territory with his guitar, despite producing some of the best psych-pop around with the aforementioned band, his solo work and with Crystal Jacqueline, has been missing the old power trios like Hendrix’s Experience, Cream, Taste and the Groundhogs. Forming his own trio would give Peel the chance to explore this more experimental and, at times, blues-hued side of his music more fully. Together with Brian Rushbrooke from the Crystal Jacqueline band on drums and Andy Budge on bass, Icarus Peel’s Acid Reign was born. The name of the band, the title of the album, the fact that one song is titled ‘Gazing Up at Jimi’ and frequent use of stereo panning tell you all you need to know about this album. And it’s on the wonderful Mega Dodo label too so it comes in a variety of editions; 180 gram acid yellow LP (of course), CD in a tin and download. So just give up on most of those Hendrix compilations and stick in an order with Mega Dodo the next time you want to hear something new that’s not only been inspired greatly by Hendrix but, dare we say, equally matches some of the great man’s work. While Hendrix is far from being the only musician whose work has influenced Peel on this project, there are moments when the listener will really believe they are listening to a new undiscovered Hendrix track. ‘Be Calm, Becalmed’ could have almost been plucked from ‘Electric Ladyland’ and one can imagine that was the direction that Hendrix was going to develop further had his life not been cut short. Peel had a hand in writing all the songs on the album (two co-writes with Budge) while one, ‘Let’s Get It Together’ (an irresistible instrumental which is this album’s answer to ‘Cherokee Mist’ on that last Hendrix compilation), was written by Budge alone. Despite the fact that Peel started this project to satisfy his passion for long guitar solos which he sometimes improvises when playing live with the Honey Pot, be in no doubt that these are properly structured songs. They are not aimless jams that last an eternity. Although three of the songs reach over the six minute mark, not a second is wasted. There’s also more straightforward rock touches thrown into the mix too; ‘Way Out West’ is a riff-fuelled hard rocker that shows again that Hendrix wasn’t the only inspiration for this project. ‘Eyes of Insomnia’ is but one song that takes in all of Peel’s inspirations; the band incorporate hard rock, psychedelia and prog into four and a half minutes which will leave you breathless. And it still makes sense. Icarus Peel has proven time and again that he is one of our major yet underrated talents; given free reign (no pun intended) to pursue his passion for the sound of those classic power trios has resulted in one of his strongest albums so far. While Peel has touched upon this sound in some of his previous recorded work here he is given the space to develop it fully and the results are simply staggering. With the stereo panning and, at times, a solid wall of sound the initial thoughts are that ‘The Window on the Side of Your Head’ is one of those albums best appreciated when listening through headphones; while it has to be heard that way as well it’s an album that simply demands to be loud through a decent set of speakers. It jumps right out at you. I loved the ‘Lisa Dreams’ side of Icarus Peel but this incarnation is something else entirely and one that Peel will hopefully revisit in the not too distant future.



Track Listing:-



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