Icarus Peel & Mordecai Smyth – “Barnburner” (Mega Dodo 2014, 10″ Vinyl/Download)

Here we have a split 10″ from Mega Dodo with three songs each from UK based songwriter/musicians Icarus Peel and Mordecai Smyth.

I’m pleased to hear more from Icarus Peel, whose music I’ve only become acquainted with in the past year through his work with The Honey Pot and Crystal Jacqueline. Aunty Powders Her Nose features bouncy Pop-Psych that’s firmly in the Syd-Floyd realm. It’s well produced, with tasty guitar and keyboard arrangements and appropriate placed effects. Almost Murder Ballad is a Mordecai Smyth cover, with killer ripping psych guitar on this dark, doomy, and lightly orchestrated bit of twisted Psychedelia. Peel shares vocal duties with a female singer that I don’t see mentioned in the promo sheet but I’m sure is Crystal Jacqueline. The horn solo is a nice touch too. And speaking of Crystal Jacqueline, that’s the title of Peel’s final entry, a cool grooving 60s West Coast Psych inspired song that’s like a cross between Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan.

I was previously unfamiliar with Mordecai Smyth but these three songs left me interested in checking him out further. Out In The Stars is a soulful Pop-Psych tune with an R&B edge and a Beatles feel during the instrumental break. Smyth reciprocates with a tip of the hat to Peel by covering his song Plastic People. The music begins like it’s going to blast off into space, but quickly becomes a freaky brand of what I’ll call Carnival-Psych. It’s weirdly fun, with piano, flute and effects, and has the briefest of moments when it threatens to explode into something heavier. Finally, Drifted Along is a dreamy but grooving song, once again with an underlying R&B feel, which is offset by flowing Mellotron-like keys. I like the interesting contrasts that all come together nicely.

Barnburner will be pressed on 10″ blue vinyl in an edition of 250 copies, and is available to stream and download too.

For more information visit the Mega Dodo web site at: http://www.mega-dodo.co.uk

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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