Transparent Make-Believe

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Let's be straight about it: this record would not exist if not for Syd Barrett. That much is evident in the first few bars of the first track, where the building half-chanted vocals can't fail to recall "Astronomy Domine" from Pink Floyd's first album. And while not everything here is as derivative, certainly it's very much in the cast of flighty late-'60s British psychedelic pop in general, and in Barrett and/or early Pink Floyd ("Insect Religion" blatantly cribs the rhythm of the central riff of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun") in particular. That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable, though it can't make many great claims for originality. Singer-guitarist-songwriter Ben Glover pens nice Barrett-esque odes evoking head-spinning visions both gentle and menacing, though his deadpanning vocals are limited in range. The production is also ear candy for those who like this sort of thing, setting off not just shooting-star guitar lines and Gilmour-Barrett-ish slides, but also sad, dignified orchestration ("King of Cabbages") and pastoral Mellotronish sounds. Some of the spaced-out lyrical imagery comes off as a mite contrived, though, à la references to a "crystal blue rubber suit," "a gingerbread house with field mice," "juggling sword swallower," and the like.

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