By The Psychedelic Breakfast
Based in Newcastle, the Psychedelic Breakfast are wisely attempting to spread their wings outside their native city.
The biography is overlong and somewhat of a bore. An earlier article in Leeds Music Scene noted that reasonable praise from a respected source carries far more weight than a glowing report from an unknown journalist - The Psychedelic Breakfast biog is filled with "Best band ever" style comments quoted from John Jones or Simon Smith of sod-all magazine fame. The music should really speak for itself, and to a reasonable extent it does.
The first song, "Memory lapse", opens in an acoustic style very reminiscent of the La's, then changes into a more psychedelic (hence the name) direction with some good musicianship in a long, but entertaining instrumental build up. When the vocal comes back in, it does not sit well in the mix and seems to be competing with an over-crowded musical background. However, this is rectified with a strong, swooping vocal performance in the chorus, which is undeniably pleasing to the ear. With a catchy refrain, suitably vague lyrics allowing room for interpretation, this has the basis of a powerful pop song.
Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by the end as the band did not go as far as they could have done in terms of the overall songwriting. As moronic as the Oasis crew are, Noel Gallagher has a keen ear for basic melody and structure - something the Psychedelic Breakfast need to pay more attention to. The part containing the lyric "I let them go" is a great bridge which would precede a chorus, or a potent chorus that would follow a competent bridge - but on its own it is not enough. In short, there seems to be a whole section of the song that is missing.
"Chemical Youth" shows the vocalist in good form, with a strong emotive force - capturing the desperateness of late adolescence, with a little insight of early adulthood. While shrewd use of reverb and occasional effects can enhance a voice, there is too much here and it hides potential subtleties. As an overall piece of music, it seems much shorter than four minutes plus, which can only be a good thing.
Track three "Little Earthmen" (I like these titles!) has a nice "Come on, come on, come on..." hook, which is spoiled by the irritating over-phased voice - turn the effects down! Also, the "woohoo" soon after does the song no favours and sounds childish. At over seven minutes it is too long and self-indulgent, again with much reliant on just the one hook.
Now for the hidden song... okay, I knew about it in advance, but it would not have been hard to guess as the last official inclusion on this debut EP actually lasts, according to my CD player's front panel, 11 minutes 26 seconds! Acoustic based, with far off, ambient vocals. Dual vocals split between the left and right channels add some interest to an otherwise pointless track.
This CD definitely grew on me and they show potential. From what I can decipher from their epic biography, the band are only in their late teens/early twenties, so they have time on their side. While the instrumentation and singing are of a relatively high standard, the song writing needs to mature, becoming more complex in terms of melodic structure and being careful to include only the elements that are strictly necessary.
However, if the Psychedelic Breakfast are in it for the long haul and are prepared to work consistently hard and smart, they may have a professional future. Just not yet.