Luv Machine

Turns You On

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The Luv Machine were something of a cross-cultural anomaly in Great Britain at the turn of the '70s. An interracial band from Barbados that played heavy psych influenced by the Hendrix/Clapton axis of British rock, the Luv Machine had been in the U.K. since 1967, slowly mutating from the West Indies' answer to Vanilla Fudge into a somewhat funk-influenced version of early British metal. Their self-titled album for Polydor in 1971 was roundly ignored, and the band split up shortly after its release. So all of the factors were in place to make the Luv Machine album the sort of thing that sells to psych, prog and early metal collectors for hundreds of dollars a pop. The Luv Machine Turns You On (which had been the band's preferred title at the time) is an expanded reissue that adds six single sides and unreleased tracks to the 12 tracks from the original album, remastered from the original tapes. It's the first release on Rise Above Relics, a collectors label run by Cathedral singer Lee Dorrian, and it does a tremendous service to the less hardcore fan of these styles, because at standard retail prices, the Luv Machine's flaws are far more apparent than they would be to someone who just dropped the equivalent of a car payment on a mint vinyl pressing. Heard just as an album, not as a rare artifact, Turns You On is unexceptional heavy psych with a refreshing lack of overblown extended guitar solos and a better than average drummer, neither of which are quite enough to make up for the anodyne vocals and not particularly memorable tunes. Interestingly, however, the unreleased tracks (contained on a separate EP on the reissued vinyl version) are actually considerably better than the album proper, particularly the two-part "Don't Let the Blues Take Over." Part two in particular sounds like the result of a jam between members of Blind Faith and Sly & the Family Stone, and more of that would have made Turns You On a genuine hidden treasure.

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