Review Summary: "It's getting near dawn, when lights close their tired eyes..."
Psychedelia was an infectious trend in the 1960's. Every musical act wanted to be a part of it. A genre birthed from the mind-altering effects of psychoactive substances, inducing a tracing sound that mimicked the similar experiences of disorientation and euphoria. Cream's Disraeli Gears
is often viewed as one of the pinnacle efforts that helped define psychedelic music, as the album introduces various elaborate techniques with guitar effects and surrealistic lyrical narratives.
The band's debut effort, Fresh Cream
, Introduced a more rambunctious and aggressive approach to Blues music. A sound that expressed an exuberance of energy, formulated by the vigorously dynamic drumming of Ginger Baker and the intensive synergy between guitarists, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. But in Disraeli Gears, we find Cream displaying a sense of restrain, and embracing a more melodious sound. Songs like "World Of Pain"
and "Tales Of Brave Ulysses"
, display the typical approach of the album. We can really see psychedelia playing a more prominent role in the orchestration of the music, as both songs are decorated with guitar effects that add a sense of disorientation to the overall sound of the music. As I said before, Disraeli Gears certainly favors the more mellow and mellifluous characteristics of psychedelic music, but we also find that Cream haven't completely diverged from the aggression of their previous effort.
The album's highlight, "Sunshine Of Your Love"
, exhibits a newly composed sound from Cream. It certainly has a more restrained instrumentation than that of the music in Fresh Cream, but the musical style is certainly similar. The song is driven by the coalescence of the guitar and bass arrangements, which a follow a mild pace, but it is Ginger Baker's eruptive drumming which lies in the background that manages to add the similar sense of aggression. "SWLABR"
is the closest to reflect the energy of Fresh Cream, but with a different approach. The synergy between the three band members in this song is utterly surreal- Jack Bruce's soulful voice, Ginger Baker's dominating percussive rhythms, but the spotlight certainly belongs to Eric Clapton in this particular piece. The guitar sections display Eric Clapton inventively experimenting with electrical distorting techniques that help give "SWLABR"
a heavier tone.
Disraeli Gears certainly introduces a new sound, but as we progress further into the album we find that we're still being entertained by the same old Cream. Songs like "Outside Woman Blues"
and "Take It Back"
serve as a nostalgic experience as they have us returning to a bluesy sound, with the harmonica even resurfacing in "Take It Back"
. But overall, we can really see the change in the music and its evolution into something much more abstract, particularly in songs like "We're Going Wrong"
, which express instrumental indulgence into atmospheric textures. Even the lyrical content is being taken much more seriously in Disraeli Gears, as we find Cream cooperating with poet, Pete Brown, who adds a sense of artistry into the lyrical narratives. Exploring more metaphorical topics while diverging from the sorrowful content of old fashioned Blues. Disraeli Gears is certainly a highly captivating album, and an important stepping stone that helped define Psychedelia.