Spacemen 3

Sound of Confusion

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Sonic Boom's liner notes from the 1994 reissue in many ways capture the whole point of Spacemen 3's full-length debut: "[It] was basically an exorcism for us of our early material...we began our discography with an equal nod to our influences and our inspirations." Indeed, calling Sound of Confusion derivative misses the point entirely, where calling it anything but a clear and specific homage to a sound and style would be a complete mistake. Three of its seven songs are cover versions -- "Rollercoaster" by the 13th Floor Elevators, "Mary Anne" by Juicy Lucy, and the Stooges' "Little Doll" -- while the originals are at once very much Spacemen 3 songs and clear distillations of everything the band members were tripping out on at the time. Though Sonic and Pierce later expressed a preference for the takes included on the Taking Drugs to Make Music bootleg, the rough garage energy throughout still makes Sound of Confusion a fine listen, if nowhere near as stunning as where the band would later go. As was the case throughout the band's early days, Pierce handled all the vocals with the right amount of diffidence and low-key intensity, while he and Sonic cranked up the amps for minimal, bluntly entrancing riffs and the Brooker/Bain rhythm section chugged along. Of the originals, leadoff cut "Losing Touch With My Mind" is the strongest of the bunch, a perfect fusion of the psych/proto-punk/drone influences of its creators sent into the outer void. Meanwhile, "Hey Man," the title audibly playing off the rhythm and sound of the word "amen," is the first of many overt references to gospel music that Pierce would incorporate for years to come. Some later CD versions included the Walking With Jesus EP for bonus tracks, along with one of the many demo takes on "2:35."

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