Donovan's Brain

Eclipse & Debris

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    6
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Donovan's Brain's second album features a more stable lineup than Carelessly Restored Art. Around leader, guitarist, and keyboardist Ron Sanchez are gathered Jason McKnight (drums), Ken Whaley (bass), and Richard Treece (guitar), at least on one-third of the album. Drummer Seth Lyon, bassist Jim Kehoe, and keyboardist Tony Sacco form another core. Sanchez also appears alone on a handful of tracks. This album features better sound quality and tighter arrangements. Sanchez shifts between drifty psychedelic songs -- think early Pink Floyd or a dazed incarnation of Can or Agitation Free -- on the one hand and harder-edged rock & roll. The comparison to Agitation Free extends to a couple of synthesizer-only experiments ("Helium Eraser Bends," "Put the Bag of Money on the Floor and Walk Away Slowly"), but not to acid rock anthems like "Tell Me" (a real scorcher sung by Paul Rose). The album opens with "Tad's New Cymbal Stand Skips the Tour," a shortened version of which came out as a single and was included on the group's debut CD. This complete take features a psyched-out guitar solo that makes it well worth hearing a second time. It also features a lineup of the band that doesn't reappear in the remainder of the album -- an awkward opening track, but a good song nonetheless. "Joey's in the Pouch" crosses over from psych rock to space rock: A fast-paced number replete with synthetic flying saucers, it evokes Hawkwind and fellow Americans Quarkspace. "Central Services" provides another highlight. Sanchez's solo synth or synth/guitar tracks work nicely as instrumental interludes, but overstretch the album a bit.

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