Saturday, January 9, 2016

Alshia - 1980 - Alshia


01    My Lady    6:20
o2    Corners Of April    5:04
03    Comment On "There"    6:12
04    Lythe    4:32
05    Lady Of Destruction    6:50
06    Darkness Love The Killerman    5:48
07    Majorca    3:42

This is another 80s private press hyped as "psych" by deceptive or deluded dealers. Alshia are better than Child's Art, but don't let anyone mislead you as to the style, which sounds like low-budget version of 1980 FM radio fare. They were obviously kings of their small local scene, but were left to release their album on their own because everyone beyond their loyal fans saw them for the average act they were. Slow tempos and tons of really nice acoustic guitar (even on the quasi-heavy songs) make them more distinctive than your typical AOR or hard rock band. Nonetheless, the songwriting is average and the singing is very weak, especially when they try to harmonize. The highlights of the album are instrumental, and, indeed, the instrumental that closes the album is easily the best song. A female singer is wasted, given only one lead vocal, but she's not much better than the guy anyway. Lyrics occasionally reach toward Christian and meaning-of-life themes, but are mostly banal. This album was recorded and mixed in two days, and sounds like it. It's not a terrible album, but not an especially good one, and not psychedelic or even "prog" at all. Mostly it's illustrative of the desire of rare record dealers to keep finding new product to hype
~~Here are some comments we received from Alshia band leader Paul Barlament, with reference to the review above: "I agree with much of your assessment of the album. It does sound like it was recorded in two days, although I think Andy Watermann did an admirable job with the time allotted and limited budget, as well as the relative inexperience of the musicians. It was actually Andy's idea to feature the acoustic guitar throughout much of the album, which did give it a rather distinctive sound. The Jefferson Airplane/Starship comparisons I've seen are interesting. There was a significant age difference between the bass player (Greg) and the rest of the band. Greg took up the bass after seeing the Airplane in concert and being floored by Jack Casady. I was 16 when I saw Jefferson Starship in support of Red Octopus, which is the only Starship album I owned. I would never consider anything they did in the same league as Volunteers or Surrealistic Pillow. My influences on guitar were Jerry Garcia from the Dead and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Jim, who played acoustic guitar on the album, was influenced a lot by the Dead's Bob Weir. In summary, I would say the sound we were going for was a kind of Dead/Floyd/Airplane fusion. The album doesn't quite capture that, though it does have its moments. On our best nights, we were a pretty good jam band.

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