Various Artists

Serotonin Ronin

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Printed as a limited edition of 500 copies, this label sampler for Australia's Camera Obscura Records was largely comprised of cuts taken from the company's CDs and 7" releases, accompanied by a few previously unissued tracks. You know those CDs that are included in every issue of the British 'zine Ptolemaic Terrascope? This disc is bound to remind you of those, in its mix of psychedelic revivalist acts who lean toward the droney side of things, and in its no-frills packaging. That might seem like a pretty arcane reference point, but then again almost anyone who's even aware of the Camera Obscura label is probably a Ptolemaic Terrascope reader as well. Alastair Galbraith and the Green Pajamas are about the only names here that even have wide cult recognition. Distorted guitars and moody, minimal melodies predominate, the psychedelic vibe being far more the escape-from-reality mode than the celebrate-reality one. And all of that stuff at once really does become tiresome in such a concentrated dose, with groups like Dorothy Flight Pattern epitomizing the more boring and structureless neo-psychedelic acts of the 1990s. For some contrast, there are more song-oriented offerings from the likes of the Green Pajamas, whose "We're Flying" is absurdly sunny paisley rock in the British mode (although the band is American), and the meditative rustic folk-rock-in-the-forest of Stone Breath.

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