By Jason Small
Spooky Blues settles us in pleasantly, proceeding at a chilled pace to a sweet beat while the man himself showcases some quality reverbed harmonies, and he’s eventually accompanied by these sharp chords and subtle brass. The faint, radiant noise of raindrops in the background help elevate the ambience in Moonlight.
Mad Man is definitely more involved, laden with these particularly brash, jazzy riffs, and the pulse is only escalated with Art Of Horror and its infectiously catchy rhythm. Funky is brief and uneventful, but it’s the opposite case for Float, a marvellous jam brimming with life and getting stuck in your head with the likes of the fine pianos and Barrie’s radical vocal scats.
The tempo keeps rolling on with the romping Free Like A Bird, perhaps the most instrumentally loaded of the tracks so far, and Barrie takes advantage of that fact to give us something pretty sizable. The solid, somewhat blues-influenced Drop D bridges into Magic Me, an utterly sublime number with a swaying melody to it and a simple but effective chorus, and after yet another interlude titled…well, Interlude, we have the stunningly low-key Flame, which is heavy in the atmosphere department.
Moonroom gets the hips shaking hard, before simmering down a touch for Ages Away, one of the most lyrically captivating pieces of the lot. A big doze of buzz is injected through Witches, and lastly is the bone-chilling Orion, which makes for quite the mesmeric conclusion.
With the deliciously titled Psychedelic Soup, the well-established Barrie-James O’Neill has done an excellent job in delivering such an efficiently produced and diverse record that is able to delve into various styles; at one moment being fab and groovy, the next intriguingly immersive.
Admittedly, a few tunes don’t quite click and feel like filler more than anything else, but otherwise this is a very satisfying experience.