I have heard a lot of really weird music in my life, but nothing quite as weird as The Orange Alabaster Mushroom. They are seriously one of the weirdest bands you will ever hear. Started in 1991, The Orange Alabaster Mushroom was a solo project, until in 2000 when Greg Watson gathered together some musician friends, and the project really took off. He described his band mates as “Some of the most talented freaks that I know." Mainly only touring Canada (their home country) they gained an underground following. They refer to their concerts as “Mind Blowing" saying “We've continued to blow minds in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston and Port Burwell since then". And mind blowing they certainly are.
The album kicks off with one of my favorite tracks “Your Face Was in My Mind". The song immediately sets the mood for the entire album. It has a definite 60s vibe to it. In fact, if I hadn’t have told you that this was more recent music (1991 – 2002) you would have thought that it was simply underground 1960s Heavy Psychedelia. That’s what makes this band so unique, there really isn’t anything else like them.
Other songs have very good use of the Sitar. Most of the songs have a fairly upbeat tempos, with bright guitar work. The song "Valerie Vanillaroma" sounds like something straight out of some one's essential 60s collection. Another one of my favorites is "The Slug" which uses the heavily featured fuzzed out guitars with other effects, mainly heavy vibrato like that used on the opening track.
The lyrics are very visual. I find my self painting the scenes in my mind, seeing the characters that are the subjects of some of the songs such as "Crazy Murray", "Valerie Vanillaroma" and "Ethel". The songs have driving bass lines, and quite heavy use of organs. This makes the band sound even more vintage. Lately, I cannot get enough of this band, and I don't think I ever will. They are unlike anything you have heard, or ever will hear in your life.
The track "Sunny Day" is quite humorous, I find. It starts out with snippy vocals singing about a wonderful day, and then the phrase "But I'm flyin' high.." come in, and you are taken to a completely different area of your mind. Steadily picked guitar comes in, accompanied by more organ. The original feel is there, but is at the same time completely different.
When I first listened to this album, I was lying in bed and trying to image all of the imagery used in the lyrics of the songs. It was a trip, let me tell you. Pretty soon I had actually fallen asleep, but I can remember still hearing the music playing, and I had these really weird dreams that went with the music. The dream that I had, was I was in some other land, and everything was really colourful. You know, your typical Psychedelic scene. And no, I hadn’t taken anything before listening to it. :p
The only thing that is slightly unattractive at first about the band, is the vocals. On a lot of the songs, the vocals are very high pitched and don’t seem to fit that well. It takes awhile to get used to it, but I’m sure that you will become fond of it after listening to it for awhile.
The sound of the band can only be described as “Really trippy", well because it is. If you thought that Pink Floyd was trippy, you are in for quite the surprise. Reverb heavy guitar parts, a lot of effects, organs, and drug induced vocals. Hell, take some of the lyrics off the second track for example. “When I’m walking through the woods, I like to taste the vegetation." I don’t think they are referring to berries or something there, folks.
If you are a Classic Rock fan, you will find some appeal in the band most definitely. With elements of The Byrds, Pink Floyd, The Electric Prunes, and Jefferson Airplane, this album is certainly a treat to listen to.