Space Age Freak Out

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Recorded at a live event in Liverpool, Glide's debut album finds Will Sergeant taking an intriguing detour from his strong yet subtle epic guitar approach that defines his work with Echo & the Bunnymen and related acts. Unlike Sergeant's early-'80s solo effort Themes for Grind, Space Age Freak Out owes its debt to another source entirely, namely Dr. Alex Patterson and the Orb. Working with the same trippy-yet-amusing combination of found sound samples and ambient washes of sound, as well as similar open nods to dub, house, and other rhythmic approaches, Sergeant creates an enjoyable slice of modern psychedelia. If not as totally harrowing or flat-out exultant as the Orb either way, though, Sergeant still creates a lovely, detailed effort that doesn't feel slapdash or hint of bandwagon jumping. The various spoken word samples running throughout actually do have an interesting connection to the title -- there are tons of NASA moon shot communications between Apollo crews and ground control, while random discussions about music and drug use also call to mind that particular late-'60s/early-'70s glow. There's certainly plenty of off-kilter nuttiness as well -- the music hall snippet that concludes "The Destroying Angel" (and the vinyl version of the album) makes for a wonderfully disorienting end. Sergeant certainly has a good ear for what he's doing -- everything on the disc is his, aside from the overall artwork design. There is at least one sly nod to Sergeant's past, though -- the organ solo that kicks in about two minutes along in "Sensory Deprivation Tank" sure as heck sounds like Ray Manzarek's solo turn on "Bedbugs and Ballyhoo." The CD version contains three further tracks from the performance to extend that nicely zoned-and-stoned feeling of the whole thing a bit more.

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