Daevid Allen Weird Quartet: Elevenses

Glenn Astarita By

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Australian, Daevid Allen was one of the original progressive rock wizards who founded Soft Machine and Gong, nestled within the British Canterbury movement and beyond. Sadly, he passed away on March 13, 2016. Elevenses will stand— barring any reissues from the vault—as his final album and the second release by his Weird Quartet.

Allen's solo jaunts are quite varied and includes his University of Errors band amid other projects. Perhaps The Daily Telegraph sums up his legacy and persona best, stating that "Allen reveled in being the court jester of hippie rock and never lost his enthusiasm for the transcendent power of the psychedelic experience."

The artist's bizarre, madcap or spaced-out fairytale-like lyricism is consummated by his endearing and unpretentious vocals that became a staple throughout his decades long musical activities. Otherwise, his band includes alternating drummers Trey Sabatelli (The Tubes) and Paul Sears (The Muffins) aligning with keyboardist Don Falcone (Spirits Burning) and bassist Michael Clare (Daevid Allen's University of Errors). Allen's guitar work is devised on reverberating extended notes, often used with a bottleneck or similar implement. He imparts additional psyche-rock treatments via overtures that sound as though he's journeying through the Milky Way, along with Falcone's melodic intervals.

Allen doesn't sing on every track, but each piece offers a contrasting perspective. For example, "Alchemy" might be considered a prog-style hootenanny with Sears' playfully discordant keys and the leader's twangy guitar licks. But "Grasshopping," is a dreamland on wheels with synth percussion, groovy organ parts, existential guitar riffs, jazzy sub-motifs and a simple melody line that signals a quasi-1960s feel. The goodness doesn't end there as the quartet follows with" God's New Deal," complete with traces of an Irish jig and Allen's lyricism about what constitutes a deal, based on off-kilter spirituality and common sense. Other pieces firmly reside in the 'head-trip' category rooted in galactic joyrides, abetted by the group's superb musicianship and irrefutable camaraderie. And while Allen may have lurked in the shadows at various times during his career his whimsical prophecies of good cheer are factors that accentuated his distinct artistry.

Track Listing: TransloopThisMessage; Imagicknation; The Latest Curfew Craze; Kick That Habit Man; Secretary Of Lore; Alchemy; The Cold Stuffings Of November; Grasshopping; God's New Deal; Dim Sum In Alphabetical Order; Killer Honey; Under The YumYum Tree Café; Banana Construction

Personnel: Daevid Allen: word, vocals; guitars; Trey Sabatelli: drums; Paul Sears: drums; Don Falcone; keyboards; Michael Clare: bass

Title: Elevenses | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Purple Pyramid


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