Mushroom – Naked, Stoned & Stabbed

January 01, 1970

(4 Zero/Royal Potato Family)

 

www.4zerorecords.com / www.royalpotatofamily.com

 

Mushroom is one of those acts that’s easy to put out of your
mind. Not because the band doesn’t make memorable music – it most certainly
does. But the San Francisco
collective takes a long time between albums, and in a constant deluge of
information demanding attention, that can hurt. But there’s an upside to this
musical method: when a new record comes along, it brings with it the pleasure
of rediscovery, that moment of “Oh yeah, I’d forgotten just how good these guys
really are.”

 

So it is with Naked,
Stoned & Stabbed
, the twelfth Mushroom album. Bandleader Pat Thomas and
his various cohorts continue their exploration of psychedelia in all its forms,
this time with an acid folk aesthetic. The band has played with these kinds of
acoustic-based motifs before, most significantly on the landmark Glazed Popems, but not so (and this is
almost a contradiction in terms) aggressively. The sounds of the psych folk of
the late 60s – both the British and American varieties – abounds here, filtered
through Mushroom’s own psylocibin jazz vision. In other words, don’t expect
this to sound like Fairport Convention – this is still improvisational
instrumental music, but with a distinct Martin guitars-on-LSD flavor and a
knowing sense of humor (as indicated by the ridiculous song titles). There’s
one actual vocal tune – “Singing a Song in the Morning” is a fun little tune,
but sticks out like Tom Cruise in Tropic
Thunder
.

 

Thomas knows that folk music isn’t confined only to white,
English-speaking cultures, folding rhythms and melodies from Indian and African
forms into the blend. The band also pays tribute to German electronic music
with “Under the Spell” – isn’t that Germany’s folk music, in a way? Naked, Stoned & Stabbed is no
exercise in hippy nostalgia, but a fresh take on old styles – much like the
rest of Mushroom’s marvelous, creative oeuvre.

 

Standout Tracks: “All
the Guitar Players Around Sean Smith Say He’s Got It Coming, But He Gets It
While He Can,” “Walking Barefoot in Babylon”
MICHAEL TOLAND

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