MMATTRIX #6 #9: Mick Magic. December 1992. UK: This is more than an album, this is a psychotronic experience. The tracks are linked by clips from famous movies of the genre, and TV shows like "Lost in Space" and "Star Trek", naturally. Bouncy toytown sequences and beatbox, fuzzbox guitar and twee vocals, sometimes slightly sped up for extra psychotronic effect. The Revillos meet the B52’s, jam on some old T. Rex, play around with M’s Moonlight and Muzak and become the Shrangri Las in space.
Flickers ‘n’ Frames 16: John M. Peters. June 1992. UK: Stormclouds have been mentioned before in this column, basically a duo of vocalist Louise Allen and Steve Lines on instruments and vocals, they now have four albums available on Acid Tapes. Along with Psychotronic, there is It’s Raining Still, Raindrops and Lost in Space. The debut album, It’s Raining Still stands out from the rest as being decidedly country-folk orientated with some melodic songs. However from Raindrops on the group slimmed down to the aforementioned duo and their sound radically changed, with all the songs taking on a definite science fiction/trash horror influence - especially of the trashy films of the 50’s and 60’s.
Hence titles such as The Creature From Galaxy X, The Ungrateful Dead, Satellite Baby, Lost in Space and Galaxina. Louise Allen has a voice that can mimic the heroines of 50’s trash films to a ‘T’ and the use of samples dialogue mixed to Steve Lines fuzz guitar and drum box adds spice to songs that set your feet tapping from the first revolution of the tape spindle. It’s a shame Stormclouds are not more widely known, as all sf fans would appreciate the humour and affection the group have for the genre.
Unhinged #9: Paul Ricketts. November 1991. UK: This tape is in the weirdly psychedelic vein rather than their usual fuzzed pop bubbles, using keyboards and special effects more than guitar to re-record a bunch of old favourites such as Lost in Space and The Creature From Galaxy X as well as a bunch of new numbers which almost incidentally answer the question that has long plagued me about how The Seeds would have sounded if they had simultaneously been overdosed on Helium and Largactil. The new songs are all short - apparently the length of time of what could be programmed into the keyboards memory. The resulting sound is like being caught in an episode of The Time Tunnel. It’s strange and amusing, though none of the songs have the impact of the original versions; instead they drift as if in and out of a dream, Louise’s vocals echoed so far that they have a blurred feel to them and when the music hits a fast tempo as on The 2 Dimensional Man the sound is more reminiscent of such outer space explorers as The Tornadoes or The Sputniks, the world of outer space as seen through ‘50’s coloured goggles. If you can listen to this and not see visions then your senses must be radically different to mine. That’s not to imply it’s all jokery. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a gentle lullaby verging on the Hawaiian, a sort of country girls falls in love with a spaceman tale that is required lonely night listening here, but in intent and effect it is a Stormclouds side-track not the next fireworks display.
Flickers ‘n’ Frames #13: Carl Meewezen. Summer 1991. UK: "If you’re too old you’ll be embarrassed! If you’re too young, you won’t understand!" says the advert. I guess I must be just the right age, as I think this fun-filled collection of quirky, amusing and highly unusual songs is terrific entertainment.
Quite rightly "Recommended for mature audiences" old enough to remember their first exposure to the SF genre via STAR TREK (neatly parodied here by He’s Dead Jim) or earlier alien invasion classics like IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. Psychotronic is a package of nostalgic charm and post-punk weirdness sure to find favour with SF fandom’s twenty-somethings. The opening title track sets the reverential tone for this fantastic album, with its introductory snatches of dialogue from various genre TV and film productions. Singer Louise Allen offers the perfect excuse, "When I’m not watching TV I read comics" for Stormclouds apparent passion for SF pulp cultures. The music concocted by songwriter Steve Lines is inventive and occasionally bizarre, with strange sound effects, overdubbed voices and curious little tunes that bounce around in your head for days after. Psychotronic is cheaply produced, slightly amateurish and at times too whimsical. But the affectionate parodies and mocking tributes to both 50’s SF movies like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and long-running TV shows like LOST IN SPACE are enjoyable overall.
Hairy Hi-Fi: John Bagnall. Summer 1991. UK: Tacky sci-fi and psych beat collide in the best ‘clouds tape yet (and they’re prolific little beavers when it comes to output.) Several spacy ‘clouds classics and some newies are fed into a continuous programme of cute galactic distortion.
Midnight in Hell #6: June 1991. UK: A collection of very lightweight songs intended as a tribute to the group’s favourite sf , TV and movies, notably Lost in Space, The Man With X-Ray Eyes and Star Trek.
While it is initially pleasant to listen to (with the occasional lyrics in a few of the songs) it is hard to determine where the group’s musical influences lie - possibly Fuzzbox and Neil Innes. The fact that the songs all sound the same becomes very irritating after a time. I listened to the tape three times in a row, and half-way through the second I found myself ignoring the music and listening to the various pieces of soundtrack sampling which appear throughout the tape.