Cranium Pie & the Research Station – “A Visit To Newport Hospital”/”Queen St. Gang” (Fruits de Mer Records 2012, 7″ vinyl)

Fruits de Mer Records specialize in vinyl only releases featuring contemporary bands covering songs – many quite obscure -from the 1960s and early 1970s. Of all the bands I’ve discovered through Fruits de Mer I think UK based Cranium Pie may well be my favorite. Their latest release is a single that covers two songs from early days of UK Prog-Psych.

Side A is a cover of the 1971 Egg song, A Visit To Newport Hospital. It’s got that classic organ melody AND sound, but also swirling spaced out effects and bleeping, flittering electronics, which make for a cool combination with the organ. The music is in the spirit of the original, but we’ve also got funky grooves that give the rhythmic pace an interesting off-kilter feel. Cranium Pie really make the song their own, with elements that are faithful to the original but injecting plenty of their own ideas, and for me that’s what a cover song should be about.

The flip side features Cranium Pie’s rendition of Queen St. Gang, originally on Arzachel’s 1969 album. This is a fitting match for the Egg cover because Arzachel’s members included the musicians who went on to form Egg, plus Steve Hillage. Similar to the Egg cover, the band start off with a classic keyboard sound and recognizable melody from the original, but the Pie take off into their own exploratory direction, with a great combination of jazz-psych jamming and spaced out surrealistic fun which ends up being much longer than the original. Great stuff!

The single will be available mid-June or so and is limited to 800 copies, and as usual this is vinyl ONLY, no CDs or downloads. If interested you better hurry because Fruits de Mer releases sell out QUICK!

For more information visit the Fruits de Mer Records web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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