published: 12 /
Oedipussy was the solo project of Phil Parfitt, the frontman with Velvet Underground wannabies, ther Perfect Disaster. Denzil Watson comes across an album "truly worthy of the title of Greatest lost LP of all time" in the shape of their only album, 'Divan
How long have we all spent in second-hand record shops, madly flipping through CD cases, turning the vinyl, in search of that long lost classic LP? Trying to find a hidden diamond amongst all the scree, by a band that no one else has heard of? Well you need look no further. Here is an album truly worthy of the title "Greatest lost LP of all time". An album firmly placed in my top ten LPs of all time. Chances are you won't have heard of it. The album in question? 'Divan' by Oedipussy. Who you say?
Oedipussy was the solo project of Phil Parfitt. Parfitt had earlier come to light as the dry-witted singer/guitarist of Velvet Underground wannabies, the Perfect Disaster. With their dark-brooding guitar pastiches, dealing with issues such as suicide, loneliness and alienation, they are now known more famously as the band that Josephine Wiggs was in before joining the Breeders. From the mid-80's onwards they managed to squeeze out four worthy if slightly flawed LP's for Fire Records, the label that first bought us Spacemen 3 and Pulp. Until late 1990 that is, when the band finally imploded. The pick of the bunch has to be 1989's 'Up', the only LP not to be dogged by either poor recording quality or flat production.
After the split Parfitt all but disappeared, only to briefly reappear four years later with Oedipussy. His comeback album in the shape of 'Divan' was a work of beauty. Gone was all the fuzzy subterreanial guitar ramblings and lo-fi production. 'Divan' was a slick record that soared, purred and throbbed with lush rhythms, and sexy grooves. Technologically, it was a step forward too, with hypnotic drum loops and samples used to good effect. And while it was Parfitt's baby he called upon some distinguished helpers including ex-House of Love man Terry Bickers and fellow Fire Records stablemate Jason 'Spiritualised' Pierce. The results are stunning, making it even more incomprehensible why 'Divan' was quickly consigned to the bargain bins of record shops around the country.
Mixing live drums and loops 'Divan' was a quantum leap forward from the Perfect Disaster's disappointing final LP, 'Heaven Scent'. Opening track 'Lady Purple' is a gorgeous spiralling vortex of wah-wah guitars. The mantra like 'Free' was the first single to be lifted from 'Divan', with its hypnotic drum loop, grinding guitars and American Evangelical preacher samples....and of course Parfitt's trademark Lou Reed sub-bass drawl. Perfect without the disaster. The dreamy and lilting 'My Soul' featuring violin and the ethereal backing vocals of Carole McMurry has a pure, almost ecclesiastical quality as it slows things down. The warm throb of 'Too Late' which must have also been a candidate for a single, appears autobiographical as Parfitt admits to himself that he's missed the boat in terms of musical success. 'I Want You' with it's Catherine Wheel guitars broods as its unfolds into a rich Eastern-influenced tapestry of sound. 'Do It Right', the second single to be lifted from 'Divan' with its chorus line "I want to give you all my love" is the dirty, sexed-up big sister of 'Free', its suggestive lyrics grinding on and on while not leaving too much to the imagination. Final track 'I Heard An Angel Call My Name' is the perfect ending and probably one of the most beautiful songs you will ever hear, gentle seascapes lapping at your ears before everything takes off in dramatic fashion as the track spirals up into the clouds and beyond into heaven.
So finally Parfitt made the record he'd been threatening to for some years. He then promptly disappeared never to be heard of again. Where he is now is anyone's guess. He certainly appears to have turned his back of the music business, perhaps partly disillusioned by the lack of success that came his way. And while the tones of Parfitt's distinctive low slung voice has been a great loss to the alternative music scene at least with 'Divan' he signed off in style.
NV : 'Divan' is not currently available from Pennyblackmusic but second hand copies are available at a reasonable price from Netsounds at http://www.netsounds.com/
389 Posted By: phil parfitt, france on 08 Jan 2011
thankyou, that is a very decent considerate review.well written,researched and executed.good luck