Kitchen Cynics

Parallel Dog Days

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The artist behind Kitchen Cynics is actually Scottish singer/songwriter Alan Davidson, who had recorded obscure cassettes, singles, and albums for 15 years before Parallel Dog Days, his debut U.S. release. The record's very much in the revivalist acid folk mold, though with a gentler, more tuneful, and wittier touch than many other releases of the sort from the early 21st century bore. It's also very influenced by the likes of Tom Rapp (there's even a track titled "Tune for Tom Rapp"), early Pink Floyd at their folkiest, Robyn Hitchcock at his less plugged-in, and the airy fantasia landscapes of British acid folkies like Donovan and the Incredible String Band. Both production (on four track) and instrumentation are on the basic side, and there's a benign goofiness that doesn't cross the line into cheesiness. He's better at melancholy acoustic ballads like "Another Little Death" (with its combination of guitar and indefinable mystical background tinkles) than he is at the more upbeat rockers, which sometimes suffer from mechanical lo-fi rhythms. Still, he doesn't always fall flatter on the more textured material, "Fossil Song" boasting a nice swirling distortion as he solemnly tones "there's only one way out of here, and that's down."

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