Ever since its 25th anniversary tour in 1994, Gong had been sounding like a caricature of itself. Sure, the energy was there, the entertainment too, but the group was relying heavily on its past repertoire and, even in the new songs, still sounded like they were plowing the same fields as in the late '60s. Meanwhile, leader Daevid Allen obviously preferred to pool his creative energies into his U.S. group, University of Errors, whose albums kept growing stronger and more personal. And then came this bombshell, Acid Motherhood. Gong's lineup is here completely rehauled and consists actually of a merger between latter-day Gong, University of Errors (guitarist Josh Pollock, incredible), and Acid Mothers Temple (Makoto Kawabata and Cotton Casino). The resulting sound is heavier, wilder, and noisier than anything else Gong has previously released, but if you had to stamp only one band name on the cover, it would have to be Gong, without the slightest doubt. Despite Kawabata's mad psychedelic work, Casino's unstoppable synths, and the heavier-than-ever rhythm section, Acid Motherhood is still as whimsical, lighthearted, and entertaining as any of Gong's prime releases. "Supercotton," written as a group effort, is one of Allen's typically delirious stories, delivered over a complex, shifting, and upbeat prog rock song. "Brainwash Me" and "Waving," both co-written by Allen and Pollock, are excellent songs, the first one a stomping monster, the second a delicate acoustic guitar affair. Sprinkled between these songs are meaty instrumentals: "Monstah!" is simply a killer riff, while "Makototen" is the genuine let's-go-nuts jam. It's also the closest the band gets to the Acid Mothers Temple sound: 14 minutes of an insistent beat and atonal guitar exchanges. Did Gong have to prove it deserved to carry on into the 21st century? Yes. Did it succeed? Holy shmoly, it did! Highly recommended.
Acid Motherhood Review
by François Couture