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The Dipsomaniacs - The Tremolo of Her Mind...The Strings of Her Soul

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Artist: The Dipsomaniacs

Album: The Tremolo of Her Mind...The Strings of Her Soul

Label: Free City Media

Review date: Jan. 5, 2003

RUI (Recording Under the Influence)

Largely improvised, almost entirely instrumental, and less song-oriented than previous outings, The Tremolo of Her Mind...The Strings of Her Soul is something of a departure for the Dipsomaniacs. With two of the five tracks breaking the 15-minute barrier and offering an ideal soundtrack for exploring inner space and envisioning outer space, this isn't just another excursion by the Norwegian band, but an epic trip.

The Dipsomaniacs draw on a familiar range of influences here: variants of late-'60s psychedelic pop and rock from both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed, this album has the feel of an affectionate tribute to many of their forebears, with certain tracks paying direct homage to specific artists. Even so, it's not a case of a band anachronistically recreating old records; as they've done on previous releases, the Dipsomaniacs acknowledge the artists who have inspired them but render those influences in a sound that is very much their own, adding new dimensions and twists to their contemporary version of psychedelia.

This album's pair of gargantuan jams showcase the Dipsomaniacs' talents in that regard. The trance-inducing "Dipso Raga #1 (for George)" is, as one might expect, an Eastern-flavored number – the "George" in question presumably being the late Beatle. It takes a little while to get going, as Øyvind Holm's acoustic-guitar approximation of a sitar toys with listeners for several minutes. However, after Gøran Olsen joins in on trombone, adding free-jazz inflections to the proceedings, the track takes off, ebbing and flowing its way through passages of tranquillity and intensity before building to a climax at the quarter-hour mark.

There's something sadly ironic about the title of this album's other standout, "In Syd's Garden." These days, according to occasional reports, Roger "Syd" Barrett is an unremarkable, albeit damaged 56-year-old with a paunch, who spends his time weeding and tending to plants in the garden of his very ordinary semi-detached Cambridge house. Not the sort of thing that neo-psychedelic epics are made of, really. But, of course, the garden invoked here by the Dipsomaniacs isn't Roger's mundane suburban one. It's a nostalgic metaphor, conjuring up sounds and images of Syd before the fall: Barrett the beautiful young psychedelic shaman with a mirror-disc-adorned guitar bathed in liquid light, leading the Floyd through epic mind-expanding jams at "The 14-Hour Technicolour Dream." On this track, the Dipsomaniacs set the controls for the heart of the sun and launch into orbit for 20 minutes (and this is apparently the edited version!). Propelled by a driving rhythm section, swirling kaleidoscopic keyboards, and sporadic guitar pyrotechnics, the band charts the furthest reaches of space-rock territory, even making a playful riffing nod to "Interstellar Overdrive" along the way.

The album's only vocal number, "Before Painting Your Murals," contrasts markedly with the more expansive, spaced-out tracks, providing further evidence of the Dipsomaniacs' versatility. Warm horns, gentle strumming, some lap-steel twang, and lilting, wistful vocals briefly transport us to an imaginary southwestern desertscape where we encounter the ghost of Gram Parsons.

The Tremolo of Her Mind...The Strings of Her Soul places the Dipsomaniacs in good company, their ability to balance nostalgic homage and innovation especially recalling that of bands in the Woronzow Records axis. Much like the Lucky Bishops, as well as seasoned campaigners like Nick Saloman and Adrian Shaw, the Dipsomaniacs continue to reinvent psychedelic pop and rock in pleasing ways.

By Wilson Neate

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