Magic Mushroom Band

RU Spaced Out 2

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Released one year after Re-Hash, RU Spaced Out 2 sees the Magic Mushroom Band getting back on track. It seems that the group's ambient/trance tendencies have found an outlet in the off-shoot project Astralasia. Even though the title builds a bridge over Re-Hash to the 1991 album Spaced Out, RU Spaced Out 2 is hardly a sequel. In fact, most traces of the ambient instrumentals have vanished and the music rocks harder than it ever has in the previous three years. If anything, the respectful cover of Hawkwind's "Hurry on Sundown" provides a sign: this album puts the rock back into space rock. "Remember Your Future," "Dandelion Parachute," and "Herbs and Spice" all allude to '60s U.S. psychedelic pop, with bass, drums, and freak guitar pushed upfront. Freed from the programming and loops, Swordfish's drumming is lively and fanciful, especially in "Hubbly Bubbly" and "Thought Train," two short Latin-tinged instrumentals strongly reminiscent of early Santana (Garry Moonboot's slow-moving guitar theme in "Hubbly Bubbly" reinforces the impression). The (synth) string-heavy ballad "Life Is So Strange" stretches out just a bit too long, but it provides a good showcase for the slide guitar of Ed Bones. It is also the most straightforward track of the set. Not quite as compelling as Spaced Out which, despite -- or thanks to -- its schizophrenic identity, conveyed a vital kind of energy, RU Spaced Out 2 represents a very honest effort nonetheless.

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