Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Out of Space, Out of Time/Wild Bug

Released 2002 on Ace Of Discs
Reviewed by Moon Cat, 08/01/2003ce

Good news groovesters! Sundial*, the psyche/garage, sometimes indie, but mostly acid rockers led by the talented guitar wiz Gary Ramon, are back after lying fallow since the excellent Acid Yantra album of a few years ago. Gary Ramon has been dabbling in production and guesting with other artists, but has seen fit to reactivate the Sundial name, and I for one am very happy with that indeed.

There is apparently a new Sundial album on the way, but in the meantime this 45 may serve as a taster for what’s to come. And it is a cheekily tantalising little package. For a start it took me an age to get hold of. Inquiries as to its existence would illicit blank stares from bewildered record shop employees. And then, oh joy, yesterday I asked the guy in my local indie type emporium and just as he started to go into the usual shrug and “Dunno mate” routine I was expecting, a voice from behind a record cupboard said “Sundial? Hold on…” and to my squeaky delight a hand appeared and passed a 7” single to the guy at the counter. And lo, it was the new single. Result! I never saw the face of my mysterious benefactor but thanks for that whoever you are.
Maybe it was the Hand Of Rock?

Anyhoo, so we got a 7” vinyl single in a plain paper bag, no pic sleeve. In fact it’s like a jukebox single in that I had to provide the centre piece thingy to play it. Low key release or what?
As of typing I don’t know whether this is gonna be a CD single, 12” or exist in any other format. I don’t even know if the two tracks are going to be on the forthcoming album, or what the current Sundial line up is, though the writing credits are given as ‘Ramon/Moonus’ and ‘Ramon/Barret’ for the two songs. The label website is a bit sketchy too so the waiting game continues.

So the tunes! Side one “Out Of Space & Out Of Time” is reputed to be one of the earliest songs Gary Ramon ever wrote (or co wrote?). If Sundial had a tripped out retro feel to them before, it seems Ramon is delving even further back in time for inspiration. ‘Out of Space…’ is a psyche/garage style basic riff beast with sludge style bass, acid guitars and organ all seemingly compressed onto one fuzzy channel. Slick production this is not! And as such it’s great. A tinkly, near twee keyboard style refrain strains to be heard atop the fuzz mess underneath as Ramon intones “Aahm outta space n’ outta tahme’ in a deadpan delivery, just slightly more melodic than Sonic Boom on some old Spacemen 3 records. There are also pleasingly wailing backing vocals looking for a way out of it all. But the real treat comes when half way through a massive bass and organ middle eight busts in, in a kinda proto-metal Iron Butterfly style. Crank it up here and get ready to rumble. Cool tune!

Side 2 “Wild Bug” is an instrumental stompalong of such insidious catchiness that you may need a vaccine to prevent it exploding in your mind as you get about your daily business. You know those ‘60’s films where there’s a scene in a nightclub and loads of hep cats and swinging chicks are frugging about with wild, crazy baby, abandon? And the music is usually a really cheesy pastiche of what the producers figured that boho kids looking for kicks would do the hippy hippy shake to? And shameful as you may feel, you actually kinda dig it? Well ‘Wild Bug’ is that track made into a glorious organ/guitar/bass wobble groove that you will find it next to impossible not to shake your arms about to and shout “Yeah! Let’s do it!” In fact it’s almost so gloriously wild, free and acidicly dumb that you can imagine the Archdrude himself recording it in one of his sillier psychepop moments. It’s cool baybee.

Gotta say then, that I’m really looking forward to hearing more where this came from. And who knows? With the current vogue for all things garage-rock, maybe Sundial’s time in the sun has come.
Whatever, Sundial are back, rockin’ and groovin’ and it’s good to hear oh yes.
Now where’s the album and tour huh?

*Is it ‘Sundial’ or ‘Sun Dial’? Well it’s been both throughout the band’s existence starting off as “Sun Dial” but on the last few releases, including this new single, it’s ‘Sundial’, so that’s what I’m going with. Trivial maybe, but there are some pedants out there sooo…

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