A competent evocation of acid-friend times gone by. But is that necessarily a good thing?

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Album review: Sleepy Sun - 'Fever' (ATP)

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Album review: Sleepy Sun – ‘Fever’ (ATP)

The words ‘progressive psychedelia’ are enough to make any grown adult quit their job, high-tail it to rehab and beg for chemical castration. There’s a good reason for this, but it’s not one that California’s [a]Sleepy Sun[/a] have grasped on their second album, the follow-up to last year’s ‘Embrace’. They will. One quick look at the stats from times past should assure you of this. After the early ’70s, all of psych’s major figures were either pushing daisies (Jim Morrison, Keith Moon) off their nuts (Peter Green, Roky Erickson) or rotting in padded prison cells (Charles Manson).

Even in bloom, hippy music primarily existed to facilitate other things, such as shamanic rituals exalting rock stars as pagan deities; horseshit moral relativity; anti-psychologist book club readings of RD Laing; communard rallies railing against Vietnam while tripping balls on library-issue Marx and LSD; that sort of piss water. Music was used as a type of counter-cultural national anthem for a nation that never existed.

(See Hendrix’s [b]‘Star Spangled Banner’[/b] for further reference). This doesn’t mean that it was all a load of rubbish, but the nostalgia trip surrounding the era is morbid, and revivalist records like ‘Fever’ – great, sonically pregnant, intricate affairs – are part of the gallows show.

So what about this particular LP? Well, you’d have to be totally burnt-out on Woodstock-strength hallucinogens to
deny that it wasn’t any good. Since their earlist beginnings, Sleepy Sun have toned down the [a]King Crimson[/a] noodling and adopted the odd acoustic moment. It’s a record filled with rampant guitar sustain, elegiac squalls of harmony, wood-burning vocals and the all-too-knowing titles [b]‘Acid Love’[/b] and [b]‘Desert God’[/b], suckling at the teat of mystical lysergic spiritualism…

Yet it’s also a record that’s in denial of things like the atomic bomb, IBM, the internet and the fucking millennium. And that
really is the true spirit of nihilism, no matter how well you dress it up in your parents’ rags.

[b]Huw Nesbitt[/b]

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Click here to get your copy of Sleepy Sun’s ‘Fever’ from the Rough Trade shop.