Tuesday, November 13, 2007

AMP - Beyond

(Wurlitzer Jukebox, 1997)

There could not POSSIBLY be a worse night for reviewing Brit psychsters AMP. I am just back from the big Van Halen reunion show at Madison Square Garden, to which I wore my tight pants and sleazy high-schooler moustache (ladies: you know where to reach me), and after a long night well-spent in the presence of cartoon-rock greatness I am understandably a bit nonplussed by this disc’s patience-stretching, spacey atmospherics. But I'll try.

The watery, ultra-distorted “Beyond” sounds like the guitar-driven beauty of early Flying Saucer Attack with chilly, tribal percussion underneath… makes sense, cuz Richard Amp is an FSA collaborator from days of old. There are some female vocals on here, but I think the whole thing might have worked just as well as an instrumental; the singing is too ethereal to be valuable/intelligible from a lyrics standpoint, yet too high up in the mix to weave itself into the trippy-time musical fabric (as Dave Pearce's whispery vox did so effectively in FSA). But OK, fine; it’s not so bad. “Lutin” is an inconsequential, drifting rumble with electronic effects echoing in the background, a totally-stoned throwaway B-side. Both these songs would sit more comfortably within the framework of a full-length; a 7” is not the proper home for either track. Just skip the single, buy an LP instead. Hey, did I mention that David Lee Roth took to the stage waving his giant red flag? And that they did “Mean Streets”? Wow! Even “Eruption” was almost tolerable!

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