BANCHEE – Thinkin’
Two years after their debut Banchee issued their second album, and by 1971 they had become a much heavier entity. ‘John Doe’ opens proceedings in fine style, with the beefier sound in evidence right from the beginning. The guitar-work is as good as ever, but on these songs it is given an even freer rein, with ‘John Doe’ including two guitar solos, the second of which is stunning. While ‘Willya’ might not be quite as good, it is not as bad as I have seen it described and does include some good playing by the whole band. ‘3/4 Song’ experiments with an odd time signature for the verses, but the chorus brings it all back together, and once again the playing is top notch. The title track is a groovy hard rocker, with the guitar sounding even better than before with this hard rock backing, and the momentum only being lost towards the end when a superfluous drum solo is allowed to intrude. ‘Searcher’s Life’ has a looser structure than some of the previous songs, but it is the springboard for one of the best guitar solos on the album. ‘Iceberg’ is the first song which harks back to the gentler moments of the debut album, but this ballad still has a harder edge than their earlier songs. Harmony vocals abound, and the bluesy guitar gives this song a power which only helps to emphasise the lyric. ‘Children Of The Universe’ starts slowly, and then gradually builds up into another great rocker, with some good backing vocals on the chorus, and a solo which fades out far too quickly. The album ends with the schizophrenic ‘38’, an eight minute song which starts out as a heavy rocker, and then about halfway through suddenly turns into a blues, with a complete style and tempo change. This, of course, gives the guitar a chance to pull off a blues guitar solo of lyrical intensity before the rock returns for the finale and the guitar is allowed to let rip on a scorching solo to end the song. Both of these albums were re-issued on one CD about three years ago, and even though these discs are now getting hard to find it really is worth the effort as both of these albums are outstanding examples of their genres of psychedelic and hard rock. Highly, highly recommended.