Edgar Broughton / Edgar Broughton Band

Wasa Wasa

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Establishing themselves as an unholy collision between the still-nascent Pink Fairies and the legendary Fugs, the debut album by British free-festival favorites the Edgar Broughton Band almost literally re-created the spirit of their natural territory -- a muddy field full of sunbaked hippies -- with eight more or less epic tracks that, though their inspiration has long become the stuff of ancient history, remain essential listening to all but the most jaded ears. All maniacal cackle and frenzied riffing, the band's first single, "Evil," and the brutal bellowing of "Love in the Rain" are the most conventional numbers in that they were certainly written as crowd-pleasing stompers in the days before "Out Demons Out" established itself as the Edgar Broughton Band's all-consuming anthem. More impressive, however, are the numbers which see the band stretching both their capabilities and their audience's expectations -- the lengthy opus "Dawn Crept Away," the evocatively titled "Death of an Electric Citizen," and, best of all, "American Boy Soldier." Ranking alongside Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" as British rock's finest contribution to the Vietnam War, it is a Mothers of Invention-esque piece that blends sneering spoken word with a delightfully doo wop-ish invocation of all that war really has to offer and all that its servants leave behind. "Shot down from my plane/Never be the same again/I was just 16 years old." As jaggedly metallic as it is theatrically ambitious, Wasa Wasa (an Eskimo phrase meaning "from far, far away") stands alongside early albums by the Fairies, the Deviants, and Hawkwind as a dramatic snapshot of a very special moment in time, as the whimsical hopefulness of the late '60s gave way to the chilled cynicism of the early '70s. And, while the band would certainly produce better songs over the next three years, they never again unleashed such a potent mood.

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