Sunday, September 20, 2015

Machingbyrd - 1980 - The Road To Forbidden Ecstacy

The Road To Forbidden Ecstacy 

01. The Road to Forbidden Ecstacy   
02. Illusion   
03. By Your Leave   
04. Hand-to-Mouth   
05. A Thrill in Disguise   
06. Cricket Song   
07. Stronger Than Steel   
08. His Wildest Dreams   
09. Simple Symphony   
10. Mary B. Reel

All Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals, Recorders & Euphonium – Mike Engberg
Bass & Fingersnaps – Bob Andrews
Drums, Demin Traps, Vibes, Fingersnaps – Bruce Stanley
Tenor Sax – Jon Olson

This record caught my attention on the Acid Archives when it was described as, "folk and folkrock with psych moves, acoustic and electric guitars, some synth embellishments." 
Thought it sounded interesting and so the hunt to find a cheap(ish) copy of the original few that were pressed begun.
Now owning an unplayed copy of the album - well, was unplayed until I got my hands on it! - it had to be heard.  I was maybe figuring it would be something like the Dreamies project of Bill Holt, but it's a lot less synth orientated.  It's almost as much a jazzy folk album as much as it is psych folk.
If you get a copy I'd highly recommend playing it through some decent headphones if only for 'By your leave's kicking bass drum.  I can't seem to hear it through normal speakers, but when the headphones are on it sends my ears insane, the air displacement is fantastic.  'By your leave' is one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion, with that bass drum, the French vocals and the nice synth soundscape, it works beautifully.
'His wildest dreams' (track 8) is really the only track that shows off the synthesiser and he really knew how to incorporate it well into his music.  The short solo is excellent and really helps make it one of the stand out tracks.
The last track, 'Mary B Reel', the only instrumental piece on the album, is a great piece of folk guitar that wouldn't sound out of place on something like Sir Richard Bishop's recent 'Polytheistic Fragments' album.  Timeless.
The only downside of the album is that sometimes the vocals are a bit of a let down, but they're not terrible and something that can definitely be appreciated in accompaniment with the music.