Delicate, Like A Psychedelicat

What is a psychedelicat, a tin of magic mushroom flavoured Felix?! His picture on the tin certainly displays some suspiciously dilated pupils, but this exaggeration maybe just artistic licence for commercial purposes. In any case, they’re not as dilated as the kitty on the cover of a new album by Marvin B Naylor and Rebsie Fairholm, a Gloucestershire-Hants duo who operate under the pseudonym Psychedelicat; justice sufficient to take a listen……bring out the lava lamp……

Because, a kindly Manchester chap who was always sending me seriously outrageous noises he dubbed “psychedelic” has finally got the message. I don’t mean to be unfair, but music, whether it be as described, a mess of every known subgenre since rock n roll, or not, it must have harmony and melody, or it is borderline industrial noise. Seriously, listen to it under the influence of a single aspirin will likely find you gripping onto the sofa suffering a psychotic episode!

I felt he lacked the concept of psychedelia, for it is surely supposed to be benign, calming and mellowed, inducing a positive karma, rather than a full-blown Cheech and Chong fashioned freak out. On the other hand, when Marvin sent us the opening track of this album, Like a Delicate Psychedelicat, called Ark, as a submission for our Julia’s House compilation, while I was impressed, I wouldn’t have branded it psychedelic; mellowed and beautiful, but nothing particularly Sgt Pepper about it.

So, in the dark wee hours in a village on my milk round, I wedged the air-pods in with the illusion it wouldn’t be half as psychedelic as it said on the tin, especially with this Anthony Burgess approved cat on the cover, the pet of Alex or his droogs. But the glorious Mike Oldfield chimes and reeling soft vocals of Marvin and Rebsie of Ark are merely characteristics of the anticipation of an LSD trip, and before long I was beginning to suspect another milkman had dropped some liberty caps into my travel-mug of tea!

By track two, Steer by the Stars, you begin to obtain the illusion that you might not be in total control of your own mind, as you would if indulging in hallucinogens, without actually having to. That’s the exquisiteness of this, it’s a beautiful journey, to Itchycoo Park. Unlike the excruciating juxtaposition of random noises of our Manchester friend, this just flows gorgeously, like the perfect mellowed trip. If I go AWOL now, they’ll likely find me swaying cross-legged on the village green with flowers in my hair like it was some 1969 San Francisco love-in! “Oi, where’s my pint of semi-skimmed?”

“Like, hey, man, just, like swirling among the milky way, tee-hee; come, sit, can you see it?!”

A pipes and acoustic guitar instrumental flows for the next couple of minutes, then the soothing vocals of Rebsie returns for Green Adieu, to make The Byrds sound like death metal! “Don’t be deceived by the opening track-Ark,” Marvin messaged me far too late, I’m horizontal now, “there are several different styles!”

With a delicate beating drum, Icy Window is trippy, as we move positively from beatnik to hippy, to the sounds of the renaissance. It’s the little chimes and swirly effects amidst the tunes which exhales this impression of underground counter culture of yore, yet still there’s more going on. Sixteenth century triple-time dance shanty unexpectedly comes into play, with a version of John Dowland’s Captain Digorie Piper His Galliard, which Marvin describes as “complete with a psychedelic freak-out, and lots of harmony singing throughout,” akin to what The Horses of the Gods are putting out.

This is an accomplished eleven track strong album in which Marvin and Rebsie are clear on their approach, and if it’s lost in time against everything since the rise of punk, I suspect that is precisely the aim. As Like a Delicate Psychedelicat settles to a conclusion, you are immersed in its gorgeous portrayals of pliable soundscapes, lost in its forest of musical delights. Of harpsichords, twanging guitar on Promenading to the ambient finale, Bright Hucclecote, the only issue with this superb album for the counterculture bohemian of yore, is what to listen to afterwards.

Drained of inspiration, there’s a comedown on the horizon; abruptly you cannot connect the dots of your modest explanation for the meaning of life involving a dreamcatcher and some leftover twigs, and hey, who dumped that milk-float in the middle of Stonehenge?!


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