Great Explorers: gentle surf music and psych-pop amble through Cambridge


The Doozer, Great Explorers, United Kingdom, Pickled Egg, EGG76CD (2010)

A very pleasant psych-pop amble through his home town of Cambridge in the UK this recording seems to be for The Doozer, to judge by descriptions on the Pickled Egg Records’ website. The doozy one sings and plays all instruments (guitars, keyboards, percussion) save for three tracks where someone else takes over on drums. Gentle surf music of The Beach Boys’ sort and a slightly dark and melancholy ambience meet exotic foreign, even tribalistic, influences to create a subtly rich sound tapestry that, however modest and small-scale its aims are, suggests it is capable of scaling great Himalayan heights.

An early highlight is “Hornbill”, boasting rhythms that might be based on gamelan orchestra and bamboo instrument rhythms and sounds and featuring a voice-over that might have been sourced from an old recording made by Edgar Lustgarten (died 1978) as the voice sounds so much like that writer’s. Spoken-voice recordings are also a feature of “Semut 1″ along with a gentle blurry electronic drone. Most of the time the CD lopes along at an easy pace, quite relaxed with sometimes unusual rhythms that come to be anticipated rather than surprise. The title track starts off as a fairly ordinary piece but expands into a quaint folksy jaunt with strange electronic connections. Imagine a bunch of hillbillies in the Ozark hills building their own spaceship from scrap metal using instructions left behind by aliens that last visited Earth a thousand years ago and you get some idea of the song. “Decisive Mind” gives us a deranged and twisted lead guitar melody.

The album does feel as though The Doozer is holding back something, perhaps because this is his second album and he’s not yet confident enough to tackle larger-scaled themes and ideas that could expand his music’s scope and take him into more ambiguous territories. At times the recording sounds as if it’s retracing parts of itself and is in danger of falling into a rut. The bland vocal does start to grate after a while and you start to wish Dooz would try some actual singing instead of pretend-singing, even if very out of tune and with a breaking tone.

Contact: Pickled Egg Records

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