The title of Many Bright Things' third album highlights the nature of the project: a large cast of friends coalescing around guitarist Stan Denski. After a seven-year gap, Denski -- better known by now as the compiler for QDK Media's high-profile series of obscure psychedelia, Love, Peace & Poetry -- delivers an entertaining disc of spaced-out jams. Many Bright Friends combines the folky side of Jefferson Airplane ("Minor Parade for 18 Strings," the title track, "There Will Be a Slight Delay") and the crudest grooves of the Krautrock school. The album is structured around two main tracks. The first one is "East West," a 21-minute cover of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's anthem to cross-pollination. Featured in this orgiastic jam are guitarists Denski, Nick Saloman, Daniel Noland, and Al Simones (trading solos); Vess Ruthenberg (bass); Steve Obenreder (drums); and harp player Byrd Birocco, who steals the show. "I Am Not a Collector Potato," the other key track here, is a feature for Jello Biafra, who tells listeners what collecting psychedelic records used to be like (with plenty of reverb in the voice), over a quiet groove improvised by Denski, Larry Demyer (guitar), David "Tufty" Clough (bass), and Lon Paul Elrich (percussion). Sandwiched between them is "The Silver Witch," the only song of the set, a nice ballad featuring the delicious Alisha Sufit. Denski presents the multi-tracked acoustic guitar piece "There Will Be a Slight Delay" as a bonus track, but its gentle pastures of echoing guitar parts deserve a better defense. People impervious to Biafra's sense of humor (or collector potatoes who don't find it funny to be laughed at -- yeah, you know who you are!) will probably prefer that encore. Many Bright Friends probably did not end up on anyone's 2005 "best-of" list, but it is an honest record deserving a few honest listens.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture