Psychedelicise Suburbia

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Taken from two separate dates in early 1991, the wonderfully titled Psychedelicise Suburbia only appeared in a limited edition run -- and on vinyl only, no less -- making it possibly the obscurest of the Darkside's major releases. Material from both All That Noise and the upcoming Melomania gets featured, along with some rarer numbers here and there, including a blast through the band's debut, "Highrise Love," here gamely sung by Pete Bassman in place of the long-departed Hadyn in a much lower pitch. While the earlier songs from All That Noise still betray their influences as much as develop them, Cowan in particular sounds really fantastic here, taking the tunes to a stronger level than before. The opening "Guitar Voodoo" sounds really nasty and attractive all at once, and from there things just burn right along as they should. Bassman's frontman role sounds perfectly comfortable for him -- his playing suffers not a jot -- and as a whole the slightly rejigged band, with Roswell moved over into organ and guitar work while new recruit Wagstaff handled drums, makes for an entertaining and often thrilling release. "Love in a Burning Universe" is one particular beneficiary, its combination of guitar bite and sweetly tripped out keyboard given heft both by Wagstaff's solid playing, especially when everything speeds up at the end, and Bassman's direct, effective sing/speaking. Another highlight, the B-side "Sweet Vibrations," gets a well-deserved showcase, sounding even more upfront and edgy than the studio take. "Good for Me" is the absolute business, starting as a pleasant psych-chimer before Wagstaff starts really pounding away and the whole band just takes off. Finally, the hyper-rare "Theme 91" closes things out, a Chocolate Watch Band-inspired instrumental that just plain shreds everything in sight. If there was any justice in the world, this album and the band's lost studio album would appear without hesitation.

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