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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 240 - 03/23/16

Daevid Allen Weird Quartet
Elevenses
Purple Pyramid Records

In addition to Australian Daevid (guitars and vocals), the Quartet originally included the three Americans Don Falcone (keyboards, percussion and assorted, also of Spirits Burning), Michael Clare (bass, also of Daevid's other American band University of Errors and occasional member of the far-out collective Mushroom) and Trey Sabatelli (drums, also of The Tubes and The Liquid Scene). The four of them released the album DJDDAY as Weird Biscuit Teatime in 2005. For the recording of the second album they occasionally included one more drummer, Paul Sears (of The Muffins), due to Trey's other commitments. The two skin hitting gentlemen don't appear together, so the Quartet of the band name holds true. The Weird expression probably have to do with the Quartet's musical excursions. Let's hear it from the surviving members of the Quartet, taken from the liner notes of the new album:

'...we recorded in two studios in the Bay Area, recorded remotely from our corners of the world, & brought in Paul when Trey was unavailable. By 2015, we had a fully mixed album. Extreme highs & lows followed... Daevid reviewed the material & gave a majestic approval & hugs. Soon after, Daevid announced to the world that he was leaving us, & then left sooner than we expected.
On our way to fully completing the album, we returned to our Weird roots & our Quartet sensibilities. Once again, we are renamed.'

The album has been announced as the final album Daevid Allen worked on before his death in March 2015. It probably was, but not in the planned way as David Bowie's last one two moonths ago. Anyhow, it sums up his 50 years plus musical career in an impeccable way. Here are Daevid's own kind of relaxed and warm singer-songwriter stuff not unlike some of the offerings from his solo albums of the second half of the 1970s with a bit of magick thrown in for good measure, outer-worldly space and psychedelic excursions with Daevid's characteristic glissando guitar and floating and/or bleeping keyboards, something closer to ambient stuff, energetic guitar-ramblings with and without punk attitude... Whatever you might expect from a founding member of Soft Machine, Gong and several Gong offshoots, and something unexpected, too. Here's even an agitating harsh blues song, in 7/4, and a seasick Irish-sounding folk song with accordion and floating organ! It ought to be underlined that this is not a Daevid Allen solo album with backing musicians, but a band album. Don Falcone's band Spirits Burning is well into space rock to say the least, and some of the instrumental and space stuff included here like "Grasshopping" and "Killer Honey" owes as much to the latter band and other musicians involved here than anything by Allen's. Sounds like the one where other weirdos than Daevid has been most involved in the composition. "Alchemy" is a half merry, half mystick instrumental originally penned by Falcone but with new segments added by the entire Quartet. "The Cold Stuffings Of November" is somewhat restrained, dominated by a Hammond sounding synth and mystick interludes, and a bit cold, all right. 13 tracks in all, five of them with words written by Daevid, eight instrumentals. A few of the tracks tend to be a bit too long and weary, and the production and playing is not perfect all the way through. In this respect it's exactly as an album from the Daevid Allen camp ought to be, with warts and all. And at the end there's Daevid's last message to all human beings, the track "Banana Construction" where his spoken words are followed and underlined by three minutes of rough guitar-ramblings before the album finishes off:

First we must escape from the virus
The venomous vile excretor
That is daily dumped on us
Mistrust of everyone
Paranoid possessive, passive, and infectious
It stinks of sterile bitterness
It reeks of resentment and revenge
It survives on fractious bitterness
And thrives on obstruction and persecution
Abandon this gibbering disbelief
Swollen with calculating hearsay
Drunk on its own importance

I hope for a huge construction site of optimism
A miracle of beauty and fine art
A colossal temple of hope
Ferroic, heroic,
Himalayesque,
Pre-diluvian,
Super human
Because that means simply
100% pure organic
HUMAN

Well then, Elevenses stands firm as a more than worthy epitaph of that tall, friendly man. It also works very well as a Quartet effort in its own right. Thanks to the remaining four weirdos for making it happen!

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