BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The history of the Orgone Box has become so convoluted at this point that it’s almost impossible to sum up here – seriously, enter “Orgone Box band” into your favorite search engine for the full story. Suffice to say that the work of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rick Corcoran has become damn near legendary in psych/power pop circles, a situation exacerbated by his music falling out of print faster than a collection of Klaatu outtakes. By our count (and we may very well be wrong), Centaur is the third version of the Box’s formerly self-titled LP from 2001, from which the band’s reputation sprouted. Billed as a “reworked” edition, Centaur contains re-trackings of some of the original’s four-track versions, plus a brand-new version of “Mirrorball (When I Want to Feel).” Considering the rarity of both the original album and its 2011 Japanese reissue as My Reply, it’s hard to argue with another repackaging, as too few folks have heard the Orgone Box in the first place.
Regardless of which edition one owns, however, the strength of the songs and performances remains the same. Like his fellow travelers in Cotton Mather, Corcoran needs little more than a four-track, his imagination and a startlingly potent touch for melody to create an album full of psych pop gems. Joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim McTighe, harmonist Maria Callaghan and drummer Tam Johnstone (also of the General Store and son of Davey), Corcoran roots his tunes in the 60s, but isn’t bound by them. The atmosphere may be Beatlesque, but Corcoran shapes his instantly appealing melodies in synthesizers and Mellotron as often as 12-string guitars and lush harmonies – texture shares prominence with tunes here. As a result, rockers like “World Revolz,” “Hello Central” and “Anaesthesia” and lush pop tunes a la “Wethouse,” “Find the One” and “Judy Over the Rainbow” make fast friends on one listen, but reveal their secrets over multiple spins.
The best thing about Centaur is that it’s more than just a nugget for collectors of contemporary psych pop. The quality of the songs and easy appeal of the performances has the potential for an audience beyond the borders of record collectors and pop nerds, and now that audience has another chance to them.
DOWNLOAD: “Judy Over the Rainbow,” “Hello Central,” “Find the One”