Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Music Review: Damin Eih, A.L.K., And Brother Clark - Never Mind

“The world is ridiculous, the world is ridiculous,” goes the repeated chant of “Monday Morning Prayer,” from Never Mind, by Damin Eih (guitars), A.L.K (percussion), and Brother Clark (bass). It is also an apt description of this acid-drenched obscurity from 1973. Not much is known about the Minneapolis trio, except for the music they left behind. Never Mind was a privately pressed, impossibly rare album before the appearance of this reissue. The music contained within its 11 tracks is positively unhinged, a mostly acoustic acid-folk collection that is as close to a pure sugarcube of Owsley as it gets.

Never Mind opens with a blast of punk-psyche prog titled “Tourniquet.” The song is a bit of a red herring, as the rest of the record settles into a much different groove. “Sing A Different Song,” is far more representative, with some beautiful 12-string guitar courtesy of Damin Eih, and otherworldly lyrics. Next up is “Take Off Your Eyes,” another acoustic venture into the outer lysergic reaches. Eih straps on the electric for “Thundermice,” which has a thunderous middle-section amidst the mysto-visions.

The trip continues on side two of the original LP, with tracks such as “Marching Together,” “Kathryn At Night,” and “Party Hats And Olive Spats.” The final cut on the album is “Return Naked,” which shows the trio pursuing a somewhat different track. There is a much more traditional, bluesy, even boogie feel to this song. For the most part, that is. Damin Eih gets into some serious electric-guitar freakiness in it as well. This may well have been the direction the trio were headed in, if they had recorded a second record. Instead, Damin Eih - who seems to be the leader of the band, took off for India. Like all great legends, he has not been heard from since.

Before hearing Never Mind, I had always considered Love’s classic Forever Changes to be the ultimate statement in psychedelic-folk music. I stand corrected. For anyone who enjoys truly bent psychedelia, Never Mind is about as out-there as it gets.

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