Magic Mushroom Band

Spaced Out

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Despite the fact that it was the Magic Mushroom Band's first album to reach a slightly wider audience, Spaced Out is a transitional effort, perhaps best exemplified by its opening cut, "Astralasia." This long-building instrumental tune is ambient, trippy and highly dancefloor-focused. "Squatter in the House," further down the track list, goes even deeper into trance, retaining a link with space rock through the use of equivocal space whispers and swirling synthesizers, but being mostly a dance track. The off-shoot Astralasia (not a coincidence, considering the moment-defining quality of the track by the same name) is just around the corner, something that is made palpable in most of these tracks. Luckily, the band is not forcing the newfound direction upon its music, as will happen on its next album, Re-Hash; here the psychedelic/space pop and ambient/trance sides of the band intermingle naturally, the latter caught in the process of being born out of the former. That is why Spaced Out is such an interesting album. The songs still hold all the typical traits of the Magic Mushroom Band's brand of accessible psychedelic rock, while "Astralasia" and "Squatter in the House" aim at the dancefloor, and other instrumentals like "Equasian," "Aquasian" and "Aravinda" explore more ambient, almost new agey pastures. It may seems eclectic on paper, but in the long run Spaced Out sounds surprisingly coherent, the instrumentals allowing sharply-penned songs like "Look Into the Future," "My Hat" and the infectious "Pictures in My Mind" to hit with more impact. The presence of guest saxophonist/flutist David Jackson (of Van Der Graaf Generator fame) also provides a few highlights, especially in "Astralasia" and "Aravinda," even though it means that Sam Turner's violin is relegated to the background. This is one of the group's finest efforts and an excellent place to start exploring its discography.

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