I confess I’d not heard of this Belgian psych-pop band before now but it’s immediately clear I’ve been missing out in a big way!
The band’s improvised spaced-out style blends psychedelia, Krautrock and post punk but on this album a more song based skewed angular pop has been introduced to the mix.
It begins with ‘Lights’, all swirling backwards guitars and hypnotic Krautrock rhythms which conjure an experimental feel reminiscent of Public Image Limited.
I presumed the whole record would carry on in this style but was pleasantly surprised by the change in pace on ‘My Name Is Sky’ and ‘Conspiracy Dance’ which introduce a quirky and infectious pop into the mix (think early XTC, Devo or Talking Heads). Over the whole album the lyrics are imaginative and often dryly amusing with many references to life during lockdown (‘Quarantine’) and the general malaise of these strangest of times. As singer Brian Carney says “Belgium was in a state of lockdown but I was allowed out for “exercise”, so every day I would walk for hours with the songs on an i-pod until inspiration struck. The city was deserted; an eerie haunting stillness hung in the air, which definitely contributed to some of the subject matter and themes.”
amongst it all, there’s even an excellent homage to the late Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory which details the story of his life over an insistent surf guitar riff and an insanely catchy chorus.
I’m reminded of WIRE on the song ‘Baphomet’ with it’s circular hypnotic guitar riff. Another highlight is the final track ‘A Firework Exploding’ which slowly builds in tempo and excitement until reaching a crescendo.
Sadly guitarist Marc Wathieu (aka Marc Morgan), a successful solo artist in his own right in France and Belgium, died in January of this year and never saw the album reach fruition. It remains his last recorded work. It’s a stunning legacy to leave and the rest of the band should be justifiably proud of their achievements.
Easily one of the most startlingly original and exciting albums I’ve heard in recent times.
Conspiracy Dance is released on October 30, 2020 on Freaksville Records.