He Fell into the Sky

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The first album by Hoboken's Tadpoles betrays an almost tribute-band level of devotion to the early work of Spacemen 3, right down to a cover of Glen Campbell's early countrypolitan hit "Mary Anne" that's so close to Spacemen 3's earlier version that the U.K. trio get credit for the arrangement. Singer Todd Parker's songs tend to be a bit shorter and peppier than the Spacemen 3's usual narcotics-induced haze, but if songs like "Butterfly," with its extended squalling guitar solo, and the darker, slightly menacing "The Ride" were slowed down and stretched out, they would fit perfectly on albums like Playing With Fire. Parker is a capable singer, and the three-guitar storm of himself, Andrew Jackson (who would leave the band after this album), and Nick Kramer sets up some excellent trance-rock grooves. (Bassist David Max is the other full-time member -- four different drummers play on the album.) The main problem is that Parker is not yet distinctive enough of a songwriter to escape the obvious stylistic comparisons. This would change on Tadpoles' later albums, when Kramer and Max join in on the songwriting, but He Fell Into the Sky is a pleasant, somewhat tentative, but ultimately derivative debut.

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