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coverpic flag US - New Jersey - Full Moon 141 - 03/21/08

Ferguson Hulitt
Mushroom Palace
KIVA

'Close your eyes ... open your mind ... we bid you welcome to the Mushroom Palace' is the opening phrase here, so you may know what you're in for ...

Ferguson Hulitt are Brian Hulitt and Dreu Ferguson Sr., where Brian writes the lyrics and Ferguson is the musician. Ferguson does most of the singing, but Brian also sings, on 6 of the 16 tracks. Sure, the psychedelic influence goes beyond the cover and title, but neither the music nor the lyrics are especially whacked-out, I mean it's out there, but not way out there. The music is pretty relaxed, mostly blues, country & folk inspired tunes, sparsely instrumented. Ferguson plays all instruments, and it is the acoustic guitar that sets the base of the songs, while bass, drums, harmonica, piano etc. are loosely added and not always with attention to precision, but that only adds to the rather fragile and laidback atmosphere.

Of course, we get some acid guitar sounds, loops, reverb, echo, wah-wah, it's all here, but not in your face - it is the lyrics that gets most of the attention. And they are plentiful and interesting, the melodies memorable, quite a few good songs here, actually. Ferguson has a low-key somewhat hoarse voice somewhere between J.J. Cale and Bob Dylan, while Hulitt's voice has a more deadpan quality that makes Lou Reed an obvious comparison. Arguably there's not much humour present in the lyrics, but "Bad Weather Mama" and "Steak Out" are welcome exceptions, especially "Steak Out" with it's 'put another steak out ... out on thee grill'-chorus - although this song's theme is probably troubled love. Instantly rememberable is also "Without A Face" - the simplest of songs are often the best. But there are others here too that stick to the mind surprisingly quick. In a good way. The lyrics deserve more than just a casual listen, though.

The vinyl edition of this record is pressed in 500 numbered copies, 400 in black, 100 in pink marble. To order, visit Void Records.

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