Review Summary: This time around the Greek collective got the Zappa/Beefheart way, spiced up with The Dukes of Stratosphear.
As the Italians seem to love their prog rock, so the same could be said about the Greeks and psych. After Tango With Lions and Noise Figures, here come yet another Greek psych band, ChiCKN and their ‘live in studio’ album Wowsers! And yet again, this quartet (expanded to a sextet on this occasion) too, comes up with some ‘goofy’ psych!
After coming up with a double LP, EP a few singles and quite a few bootlegs, these guys have decided to go for ‘live in the studio’ recording style, and on the evidence of Wowsers!, it was a right decision to do so. The title itself should be a bit of a giveaway for aficionados who are familiar with one Frank Zappa, as it is a finger in the direction of his Mothers Of Invention phase and “Wowie Zowie”, one of the tracks from his first album Freak Out, that title itself though, was already taken by a certain band that did a sort of post-punk psych - Pavement.
If that did not catch your attention, you don’t have to go as far as one of the closing tracks, “Elevational Love of Frank Zappa” to get the connection. “Am I Cher"”, practically the opener here (if you forget 20 or so seconds of introductory “Invocation”), brims with the energy and in many ways recalls the Zappa/Beefheart brilliant live collaboration, Bongo Fury. Beefheart and his Clear Spot phase come to mind with “I Cry Diamonds” with its strong guitar riffs and brass and the skewed up country blues of “Egg of Love”.
ChiCKN playing is excellent throughout and exhibits some of that post-punk energy Pavement dealt in too. All this is laced throughout with a hefty dose of psych that at moments reminds of XTC’s Eighties experiments in the guise of The Dukes of Stratosphear, particularly with the brilliant closer “Cloud Over Athens”.
Yet another exemplary Greek psych album. It must be something it that feta salad…