Where to start with this one then?
Free Pass To The Future by Berlin/Glasgow five-piece And Yet It Moves is all over the place, nuts, crams in about 27 different styles – often within one song – and is 100% mental.
Good thing or bad thing?
On initial listenings, lord only knows really, but this collection is certainly original and puts down an early and solid marker for the barker of the year award.
What you get is guitars – lots of them – which happily hop between heavy, swampy rock to breezy and jolly pop: so far so normal.
Then we get to the vocals by Dale Barclay, which quack about in a Captain Beefheart-like fashion at times and suggest someone you should either run away from or run away with should you encounter them at a party; faintly daft, completely confident and uncaring of any convention.
The fact the singing occasionally and attractively then sounds like Lloyd Cole only adds to the surreal nature of goings on here: you may be enjoying that relatively calm aspect but it’s swiftly ditched and the drums and guitars kick into a cacophony that suggests someone has just driven a truck through the studio.
At first, it’s quite hard to know whether Free Pass To The Future is any good or a load of old rubbish: it’s scattergun noisy racket is so all over the place it has little to compare it to.
Beware, however: on the third, fourth and fifth listening, it all begins to make sense and becomes faintly irresistible.
The thumping rock parts are certainly stirring, the winsome backing vocals are attractive in a bit goth kinda way, the structure and rest of it is freestyle, but now in a rather impressive and seductive way: all in, if you suspend disbelief and go with the flow, it turns out this is a great record.
Perhaps the eccentricity and indeed the length of some of the songs – eight minutes, count ’em – put Free Pass To The Future into the prog-rock revival category?
Possible, but, if it is, it’s at the harder end of the spectrum.
They’re also in the cul de sac where drum and bass-type percussion can be lobbed into the mix [see intro to ‘Brother Henry’]… niche, for sure.
We even get some classic Scottish scratchy guitar pop on ‘Second Earth Song’.
A bit discordant but you can see the lineage to Glasgow bands of the early ’80s though naturally some of the vocals are then fed through a vocoder and things get rather raucous.
‘Second Earth Song’ is ultimately a triumph though: the high point here.
It may be nuts, it may be yelling, “fuck you“, all over the place but it has a joyousness about it, a celebration of itself.
It’s hard to imagine another record like this appearing anytime soon – reason enough to commend it.
The fact that, with a little perseverance, it’s also a hoot only adds to the plus points.
Dive in…with a crash helmet and an open mind.
Words: Vosne Malconsorts