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* * * * * Cranium Pie – The Geometry Of Thistles * * * * *

CRANIUM PIE evolved gradually as a psychedelic progressive quintet since 2006, from the darkest subterranean caverns of Wiltshire, in the South West of England. They have released several singles via UK independent labels Fruits De Mer and Bracken, as well as appearing upon various compilations, including the first two “Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble” LPs, compiled by Amorphous Androgynous. CRANIUM PIE’s debut concept album “Mechanisms” – Part 1 of them has released via Fruits De Mer Records in September 2011, featuring classic psychedelic progressive rock essence around 1970.

REVIEW:

[ Mechanism Part 1 ] Via this whole album, we can realize CRANIUM PIE have been pretty influenced by Pink Floyd, and their Floydish essence can be found here and there. But simultaneously I’m sure they should not simply be an imitative project of Floyd. They have more garagey texture and, like a Japanese pride Far East Family Band, definite Oriental moonshine, blended with Floydish mellow and gloomy basis. Their versatile sense opens widely from the beginning of the first spacey track “This Was Now, The Awakening Of The Birds” (with such a meaningful title). Eccentric electronic emblems and keen kaleidoscopic kicks can be used so effectively that their cranial world with hypnotically delicious pie goes forward.

The following track “Rememberrr” (previously released as an EP) obviously can remind us Pink Floyd in Syd period, and notify us also more spacey, more spicy seasoning with keyboard solo and fine synthesizer splash. Not a simple copy of Syd they’ve shot, but they’ve expressed high waves of cranial ocean in this tune I feel. Vaster and vaster their inner world and soundscape gets, leaning toward Far East Family Band … at least for me. The former half of “Drying In The Sun” is a dreamy desert. Not heard such a dry, but warm sound storm, that blows me into another shock.

The last song “Run To Survive” can throw us heavy blues touch with a bit pop footprints (my love). And yeah, the title track is a collective edition of CRANIUM PIE’s sound essence – with heavy, deep riffs created by Dan’s guitar solo, Steve & Julian’s dark and strict rhythm section, Rob’s flexible keyboard flood, Tim’s addictive sound creation, and sticky, crazy voices – killa one. Exactly a promising project, I’m looking forward also to their “Part 2″.

[ The Geometry Of Thistles ] The English psych/prog rock group Cranium Pie should be pretty well-known to all the readers of Psychotropic Zone by now but if not be sure to check out their previous album Mechanisms Part 1 right away. I, like many others, was first introduced to this fine band through the releases on Bracken Records and Fruits de Mer. Put out on Cranium Pie’s own label on limited vinyl and CD editions with hand-made and numbered covers, The Geometry of Thistles includes a bit more folk styled but experimental and highly psychedelic tracks recorded in between 2006 and 2009. Although this is a sort of an archive release the experimental material is of top-notch quality and the journey into the mushroom land is guaranteed. At times the material might sound a bit sketchy but still very good.

The album’s title track starts off the trip at first with very hallucinatory soundscapes and then we’ve got some beautiful and peaceful acoustic guitar and laid-back lead guitar with sound effects. Soon there’s also some light rhythm and harmonic, effected vocals. This one has an excellent, dreamy vibe! ”Master of Mystery” is a short, experimental and magical folk instrumental. The familiar sounding, organ-driven ”Rememberrred…” is like from Pink Floyd’s More soundtrack and “Trawler Man” like early 70’s pretty psych folk in the vein of Incredible String Band. In between the track, there is a full version of the experimental piece ”There It Is” that includes for example whistles and electronics and has been previously released on the Monstrous Bubble 1 compilation.

The second side opens with the peaceful and beautiful acoustic folk song ”The Castle by the Sea” that also has some superb Mellotron things. The short Medieval folk piece ”Animals and Wood” creates a bit Circulus-like mood and then follows the minimal and hazy instrumental “Soft Landing” that includes acoustic guitar and synthesizer. The album is finished with its longest (7:44) number “Granny’s Wall” that has experimental, electronic rhythm, keyboards, synthesizers and heavily treated vocals. This is really psychedelic going and in fact brings to mind Nick Nicely’s early 80’s output a bit! These fellows really got it. The vinyl comes with an insert that has the lyrics and a nice painting on the other side. I guess he CD includes the same but in miniature size. This is a truly amazing album and you should get it while it’s still available somewhere.

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Artist – Cranium Pie
Album – The Geometry Of Thistles [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Psychedelic, Experimental, Lo-fi, Space-rock [ EXCELLENT ]

Tracklist

Red side
A1 The Geometry Of Thistles
A2 Master Of Mystery
A3 Rememberrred.
A4 Trawler Man Pt 1
A5 There It Is
A6 Trawler Man Pt 2

Green Side
B1 The Castle By The Sea
B2 Animals And Wood
B3 Soft Landing
B4 Granny’s Wall
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Cranium Pie – The Geometry Of Thistles
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Have A Nice Life | The Observatory | Hoping To Collide | Desert City Soundtrack | Hunting Bears
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