Artist: Alice's Orb
Title: Indelible Witch Cream
Label: Strangely Brown
Catalogue Number: SB009
Ltd Edition Number 327 of 500
Year of Release: 1995
A1 Chillin With The Aliens
A2 Steve's Last Trip
A4 The Forgotten Ones
B1 High Times
B3 The Place
B4 On And On And...
So, having rather enjoyed their first album, then not-quite-enjoying-as-much their third album, I was still sufficiently interested in this band to go the whole psychedelic hog and purchase this, Alice's Orb's second LP, Indelible Witch Cream (which I got from Swiss record shop Black Rills, who I hereby recommend). Sadly this does not make me a completist, as there was a 7" single released of Chillin' With The Aliens, but as it appears to only contain two other tracks from this release Giroscope and The Forgotten Ones (and the only copy I could find for sale cost USD25) I probably won't bother getting it.
There is a wee booklet inside, which gives you some background as to what happened to the band between the first and second releases, how these tracks came to be on Indelible Witch Cream, and who's playing what. I've photographed the booklet, then tried to make my photos a little better with some cheap software, and now the thumbnails below each link to a page of it:
The album opener, and ostensible A-aide of the only single, is musically very different from anything else they've released. There's much more of a rock feel, the lyrics and vocal style a marked contrast to the usual early-Floyd and solo-Syd aping stuff. This is due in no small part to this track being one of two written by the bassist Nick Gylanders, the other being High Times.
The other main reason is the conscious decision to pastiche Iggy and the Stooges instead of The Floyd. Both tracks are much the same, and go on a bit too long in the same vein, although High Times has a slow and aimless mid-section which marks it out a little. They reminded me more of Bevis Frond than anyone, but then I don't have any Stooges records.
With Steve's Last Trip and Giroscope though, it's very much business as usual. Steve's starts with a Vegetable Man-style opening section, a lovely ambient-ish mid, and a truly scorching psychedelic jam at the end, it's a shame it fades out when it does, as it is by far the best track on the album, and other bands would have filled the entire rest of the side with it. Giroscope could have been a Barrett out-take, which is high praise indeed.
The final track on the A-side has a Pow R Toc H opening, but kicks in to more of a Beatles-vibe with some mellotron-esque keyboards. There's a terrible spoken word passage (I think they must be contractually obliged to do these bits, there's one on every album) this time about Alice in Wonderland, but it's musically very good, and I liked the backwards-drumming ending.
On the B-side Obelisk/Oberlisc/Oberlisque (depending on whether you are reading the record sleeve, booklet or record label) and The Place both continue the rockier feel of High Times, but are more reminiscent to me of Spacemen 3 or MC5, however the vocals on The Place sounded like Seventeen Seconds-era Robert Smith, if you can imagine that melange. On And On finishes things of with what almost sounds like rock-posturing, but it's all good fun, and a fine way to finish the album.
I'm not sure if, 14 years on, you can still get in touch with the band at Strangely Brown, 10 The Barleycorns, Luton, LU3 1EB - but in this crazy modern world you can stalk them from the air on Google Maps.
I think I might write to them and see if I can host some mp3s - I would say 'watch this space' but that would be a pointless, and highly unproductive endeavour. Instead, just check back in a bit, and if I get permission there will be mp3s appended to each Alice's Orb review (and if I get permission, this whole paragraph will no longer exist).