ANTON BARBEAU – In The Village Of The Apple Sun (Four Way)

Anton Barbeau hails from Sacremento, and normally makes albums of factured, intelligent pop. For his tenth album he decided to make a classic psychedelic record, and after two and a half years in the making we now have the fruits of his labours. The most psychedelic thing about the album is without doubt the lyrics, which have a lysergic quality to them which puts them firmly in the period that he is trying to re-create. Opener ‘This Is Why They Call Me Guru 7’ is a catchy pop song with a 60’s vibe to the guitar hooks, and is ideal for a single should he so choose. ‘Mushroom Box 1975’ and ‘On A Bicycle Built for Bicycle 9’ both have the out-there feel that he was aiming for, while the surreal ballad ‘The Eye On My Hand’ is one of most successful tracks, featuring a truly weird guitar solo and suitably off the wall lyrics, and encapsulating exactly what he was trying to achieve with this album. ‘Murray Boots Are Conquering The World’ is a heavy rock track, while ‘Creep In The Garden’s ‘elves and trolls’ lyrics give it a slight progressive edge. ‘When I Was 46 In The Year 13’ and the title track, with its backwards guitar solo, are both great songs which really capture the essence of 60’s psyche, both in the music and the lyrics, and yet ‘In The Meadow Of The Mellotron’ is a reasonably straight-forward rock ballad, albeit with plenty of effects thrown in. Many of the tracks have that pop element which made the very best psychedelic music so accessible – it was only when you really listened to the songs that you realised just how surreal they were, and it was then that they could take you to another level. Scattered throughout the album are numerous short pieces – sometimes only a few seconds long – which help to create the atmosphere of a psychedelic haze. It might take a little while to get into this album, but when you do you will appreciate the effort that Barbeau has put into making this sound exactly like it did in his head when he first had the idea of doing it. While hesitating to call this a pastiche, albeit a lovingly produced one, dare I say that this could be the best modern psychedelic albm since Dukes Of Stratosfear’s ‘25 O’Clock’, and that is praise indeed. Available from Rustic Rod, and well worth the investment.