This is not a revivalist depiction of the good old days based upon a setting where Dr. Smith’s miracle elixir was the fodder for tent-shows across the western regions of the United States. On the contrary, these musicians morph a slice of Americana into a surreal Dali-esque sequence of psychodramas, heaping with acoustic-electric abstracts and San Diego denizen, Toni Pope’s unorthodox vocals. Pope is the lead voice here, and her training encompasses Mongolian overtones, and African guttural pressed processes to complement her soul-searching musicality.
It’s a pleasant and persuasive type of madness that sucks in elements of jazz improvisation, psychedlia, and vintage space-rock. The quartet uses electronics effects for perpetuating a few intergalactic burnouts. However, the experimental nature of this recording uncovers a diverse bag of tricks and entertaining schemes.
On pieces such as “Twist the Sky,” the band commences with a hazy Tangerine Dream type synth groove followed by Ray Schaeffer’s pumping bass lines and Pope’s eerie vocals – think of avant-rock here. Nonetheless, the program is quite bizarre and holds true to the album title via alien sojourns amid a sea of cyclonic movements and prismatic hues. They render guerilla funk tactics and a nightmarish aura on “Cabbage Head Dreams,” due to Philip Everett’s distortion-laced electric lap harp lines and a devious, yet humorous spin, featured within various mini-motifs.
The band often liquefies themes and reformulates into tangents that spawn drones, tumbling rhythms and edgy circumstances. Not for everyone and radio play might be a stretch. However, the musicians provide a cunning snapshot into musical highways infrequently traversed. Moreover, the artists reassert West Coast-based Edgetone Records’ forward-thinking strategies and immensely diverse catalogue. – Glenn Astarita
TRI CORNERED TENT SHOW: Philip Everett – autoharp, electronics, percussion; Ray Schaeffer – electric basses; Anthony Flores – drumset, percussion; T. Pope – vocals, lyrics, drone FX.