Bent Leg Fatima

Bent Leg Fatima

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The Philadelphia group's first full album is a distinctly quirky blast of end of the century psychedelia, steering away from the realms of drony guitar and stoner tempos for more acid-folk grooves and an upbeat if not explosive vibe. Comparisons to Amon Duul and Syd Barrett's less psychotic work make sense; there's a casual, "having fun in the studio" vibe that at the same time isn't conveying simple whimsy or daydream (at least not all the time). Keyboards squeal out tones from nowhere, space and echo accentuate the percussion, and vocals appear but don't predominate, often taking up only a few lines per song; everything's just a little off, just enough. "Dr. Spound and the Art That They Dismissed" shows Bent Leg can play things on a straightforward level as desired, to an extent. The acoustic strum of the song and soft singing is a pleasant bit of semi-folkiness, but things still sound just a little strange, from the discordant plucking to the buried vocal wiggery at points. "Mouse," previously released as a single, has the glam-rock swing and sass of "Jean Genie" or "Blockbuster," but with whispery vocals and Hammond keyboards, it isn't so much a platform shoes anthem as an off-kilter, fun little song that builds to a great, loud ending. "A Sort of Seamless Suite" is more conventionally on the drone path, at least with the keyboards, but again it's the percussion and sense of play that the band brings to the fore that stands out. The song's much more of a low key jam rather than a head-nodding trip into the beyond. Other mixes of the heavy and mellow crop up, like "Hemingway" and the sweet chime of "Crow, Cat and Snake," originally the B-side to "Mouse," while a brief unlisted semi-blues ends the disc on the same amusingly odd note with which it began.

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