Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Regular Fries - Free EP

The Regular Fries
Free EP

Released 1998 on Junior Boys Own
Reviewed by griddell, 14/11/2005ce

V. hypnosis
W. the prayer
X. new moon
Y. christopher columbus
Z. ray’s garage

Strange kettle of fish altogether, Regular Fries.
Appearing at the end of the 90’s with a mixture of sax, sitars, drum loops, rock-riffs, funky bass and keys, it all added up to a psychedelic sound closest in spirit to Primal Scream’s chaotic melting pot, but original and distinct enough to warrant a good listen. From the sound of ‘Free’ alone, I’d also wager that early Hawkwind (Dik Mik sounds), Funkadelic (stoned grooves) & even The Fall were on their collective musical radar.
It’s honest to say that they never really fulfilled the promise of the first few excellent singles, releasing 3 quite different though ultimately patchy albums before calling it a day. All worth a listen by the way but if you happen to see this EP kicking around, it’s the best introduction.
‘Free’ starts with a spoken intro over spacey sax that merges into ‘The Prayer’, a bass-heavy spectacular with hip-hop drums and a garbled Mark E Smith ramble, interspersed with spacey Korg sounds and soulful keys. ‘Are you an Asylum seeker from another solar system? If so, you will need identification.’ the Fries announce, making this track come across like a weird & glorious sci-fi/funk-rock hybrid. The cliché for indie bands used to be saying in interviews ‘there’s always been a dance element to our indie sound’. Regular Fries could honestly claim ‘an indie element to our dance sound’, mainly in that strange mix of 2 vocalists: the Smith style megaphone voice and the gently spoken dude. Listen closely enough to the lyrics and there’s some seriously good rebellious thoughts being vented too.
Advance apologies for the amount of artists name-checked in the next paragraph, but it’ll give you the gist of the Regular Fries unique sound without boring the proverbials off you with a track by track break-down.
Aside from a beautiful sitar washing through the start of ‘New Moon’, there’s an Isley Bros. guitar solo that also manages to sound like a jazzy ‘Funhouse’ style sax, a David Lynch movie track ending, Bowie ‘Low’ style drones/piano on ‘Christopher Columbus’ and last but certainly not least, the EP sounds off on ‘Ray’s Garage’ with some classy Sun Ra moments, Bonham beats, funky bass and brass oozing sax appeal.
Sound like a confusing enough mix?

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