So named in tribute to Stanley Owsley, legendary manufacturer and distributor of LSD in the mid-'60s, Songs for Owsley focused on a new musical from the past, concentrating on keyboards and keyboard distortion almost exclusively, with guitars left at the side. A teaser and predecessor for the Forever Alien album, Songs for Owsley has a three-piece Spectrum in place, with Alf Hardy and Pete Bain (aka Bassman) back and Scott Riley absent. The semi-title track "Owsley" is, appropriately, a total trip, with Sonic's heavily treated and distorted vocals matched by the insane amount of keyboard squiggles and noise; it's simultaneously goofy and threatening. "Feels Like I'm Slipping Away" and the Francis Bacon-quoting "The New Atlantis" rejoined "Owsley" on the album itself, leaving two standalone instrumental tracks. "Liquid Intentions" plays things calm and cool in comparison to the freakout of "Owsley," with rhythmic but stretched-out drones occasionally meeting with more random keyboard fun, while "Sine Study #1" takes a generally chillier tone and a more straightforward approach, suggesting in part the work of E.A.R. collaborator Thomas Koner.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett