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Non Compos Mentis

[B]Cerys Matthews[/B] recently attributed a certain Welsh sound to a steady diet of Radio 2, simply because Radio 1 reception there was so poor....

Cerys Matthews recently attributed a certain Welsh sound to a steady diet of Radio 2, simply because Radio 1 reception there was so poor. Combined with locally-grown hallucinogens, it created a generation of bands with a peculiar twist on easy listening and MOR rock.



You can hear it in Super Furry Animals' psychedelic ELO-isms, Gorky's' skewed folk, and in particular in Penygroes' Topper, whose second album attempts a path equidistant between those two bands. 'Non Compos Mentis' is a seven-track jaunt through hazy '60s folk-pop and '70s rock, with every reference point given a subtle tweak to knock it out of shape. It's at its most effective on songs like 'Another Planet', where Supertramp and Donovan go space rock, and the Syd Barrett-influenced 'Listen To Me', although too much of the album is pure folk sludge.



The result is a band who sound anachronistic and spaced out, but not enough of either. With neither the distorted vision of SFA nor the single-minded eccentricity of Gorky's, Topper exist in a cheesy middle ground, and the wonder is how such a strange combination of influences can sound so ordinary.
4 / 10

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