Trial by Headline is Brainville 3's first well-recorded, largely available release, and the group's second opus, following Brainville Live in the UK, a self-recorded live affair released as part of the fan-targeted Bananamoon Obscura limited-edition series. Unlike that first recording, Trial by Headline is culled (by Chris Cutler) from a string of nicely recorded shows, and audio wizard Bob Drake had the final say on the mastering. Also, the BO CD featured the original Brainville lineup (Daevid Allen, Hugh Hopper, Pip Pyle). Pyle having passed away since, RIO madman Chris Cutler is now behind the drums. As a result, Brainville 3 now sounds less like a jazz-rock jamming outfit, and more like a free-form rock band. Most of the tracks start from songs, some of them well known to Allen's fanbase ("Trial by Headline," "Ocean Mother," "Who's Afraid," "I Bin Stoned Before"). But these are very liberal interpretations, with Allen twisting his lyric around. You might hear a riff or a chord sequence, but that train will quickly derail and plow through a different field -- which is all the excitement this trio is about. Allen's glissando guitar work sounds very good here, framed by two stellar improvisors. Highlights include the title track, "Dedicated to PQ But She Couldn't Hear it" (entertainingly fooling around with a Hopper composition dating back to the early Soft Machine days), and the two "Basement" tracks credited to Cutler/Hopper. The album concludes with a variation on the Soft Machine classic "We Did It Again" (here rechristened "Didditagin"). Trial by Headline is a convincing release by three highly creative musicians. There is nothing straightforward about it, but you might find it more comfortable to your ear than some of the Acid Mothers Gong or University of Errors material.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture