Sunday, August 2, 2009

Friendsound, JOYRIDE

RCA Victor, 1969; reissued on grey-area vinyl a few times; availability uncertain

6 tracks, 34:43

It's hard to believe this was a Paul Revere & the Raiders side project. There's no real credits on the album, but yes indeed, this is Raiders members using the studio as an instrument. It sounds about as far removed from their main project as possible. What more can you expect, when "Brotherhood" is listed as producer?!?!?!? What few liner notes describe the recording of this album as "a musical free-for-all", which is as good a description as any! Beginning with the slow and druggy rock jam "Joyride", Friendsound soon leave any semblance of pop or rock behind. "Childhood's End" combines a mechanical rhythm (as in actual industrial machinery, not drum machine) and the chant "send me a dream" in a way that sounds a lot like what Cromagnon was doing; in fact, JOYRIDE as a whole has a lot of similarities to Cromagnon's only album (pop stars freaking out, chants and other non-traditional vocals, use of primitive sampling in doses). "Love Sketch" is an almost new agey instrumental, not too remarkable but not truly bad, and it goes right into "Childsong". This is a bizarre track made up of the sounds of a playground, chimes, flute or mellotron (it's hard to tell), and a LOT of tape manipulation. The kids' voices are subtly twisted, and the music grows louder while still exuding a calm beauty. This is a highlight of the album, and it ends side one on a great note. Side two consists of two tracks, and boy, are these weird! Both are about nine and a half minutes, and they're two different sides of the coin. "Lost Angel Proper St." has a bluesy organ, spoken effected vocals that get frequently eaten by the music, crazy electric guitar freakouts, and long stretches where the music changes completely, while still coming back to the original theme in a way. Last and definitely not least is "The Empire Of Light", which ends the album on its highest note; given the quality of the other tracks, this is saying a lot! Piano is the main instrument here, surrounded by all manner of sound effects. Everything from spooky organ to weird synthy squelches to unidentifiable tape manipulations comes into play, all with the meandering yet quite beautiful piano underneath. It's a truly amazing track, sounding remarkably like Moolah or Kluster. Far overdue for a reissue, JOYRIDE was a bold album that still sounds remarkably innovative. It's a shame they never recorded another album as Friendsound; they sure did continue on as the Raiders, but that's a little outside the scope of this blog. Perhaps that is for the best; this sort of thing is hard to capture twice. Consider this album a part of the 60s freakout holy trinity along with Cromagnon's CAVE ROCK/ORGASM and the Red Krayola's PARABLE OF ARABLE LAND, and until there's a proper CD reissue, try to hear it any way you can.


goeStajer said...

Never heard of this album before but your review has made me curious enough to try to steal a copy of it somewhere.

Prof. ~.a.~ said...

It was on ye olde NWW list or I never would have heard of it either. It should be right up your alley. Let me know what you think when you hear it!

goeStajer said...

Found a copy, D/L as we speak - will let you know once I've listened to it.

Rosebud said...

goeStajer! let me know what you think about it. the review is indeed promising.

greetings prof!

Prof. ~.a.~ said...

Hiya, Rosebud!
It is quite an intriguing album. A few more "normal" songs than your usual freakout album, but still a great one!

goeStajer said...

Had a listen to it and I liked it a lot. It's not that "out" as the Cro-magnon album (that really is the result of a mushroom eating contest I believe), it stays more on the traditional path of making music. The addition of many "uncontrolled objects" that seem to enter an leave the overall "sixties sound" makes this one album very adventurous.
Thanx for the tip!