The Psychedelic Sounds of the Sonic Cathedral

I wonder, excepting the changes in Roky’s voice, if this track is as close a representation of the fabled Elevator’s sound from 65 -66 that we’re ever going to get on record?

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What a cracker! It goes without saying that this is an essential release, and not only for Elevators-heads. No, this is one of those records that cuts across any perceived tribal boundaries, and in many ways doesn’t really need writing about, its charms should be self-evident.

Immediately the LP’s off to a flyer, courtesy of the great man himself. Erikson blasts out a very powerful live version of Roller Coaster, sounding more like a wizard dispensing sacred lore to disciples than he ever did before. It’s pulsating stuff. Stacey Sutherland’s dark guitar parts come across pretty brilliantly too; and then there’s that jug… I wonder, excepting the changes in Roky’s voice, if this track is as close a representation of the fabled Elevator’s sound from 65 -66 that we’re ever going to get on record?

Musings on authentic sound aside, it must be stated that this is no straight tribute album either. It’s good to see almost every band give the tracks an unexpected sonic twist. The Strange Attractors give Reverberation a hard glitter stomp which suits the song very well. All The Saints take on Don’t Fall Down and Dead Meadow’s run through of Kingdom of Heaven are enjoyably “slacker”, though the sound on the former keeps the original’s 2 car garage vibe. And guess what? A Place to Bury Strangers put Tried To Hide through their patent JAMC-blender. Though I’m no fan of this band, the result is brilliant. Testament to Erikson-Hall-Sutherland I say… 

Elsewhere Splash 1 is a beautiful interpretation, allowing the feminine side of Roky’s song-writing skills full vent. Can you just imagine Nico covering this back in the day? What a thought… The straight take by Darker My Love on She Lives (In a Time of Her Own) allows a marvellous jingle jangle stomp to unfurl, which sometimes leads the listener to think of that description often given of the Elevators, that their music “rings like bells”. It’s marvellous.

The second part of this LP sees a discernable quietening of the atmosphere: Hush Arbours do an enjoyably messy take on Dr Doom from Bull of the Woods (though did Roky write that one? I can't remember) and I Break Horses give a mysterious, menacing take on Goodbye Sweet Dreams as the LP’s closing track. Sonic Boom joins Cheval Sombre on a beautifully woozy version of You Don’t Love Me Yet. Le Volume Courbe's (with Kevin Shields) take on I Love the Living You is a beautiful acoustic meander,  whilst the LP’s hidden highlight must be Black Acid’s incredibly sluggish, slobbering version of Unforced Peace.

The one problem I have is I WISH someone would have had a stab at Livin’ On or Don’t Slander Me, but that’s just naked greed on my behalf. Go and get this, now.