Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Davie Allan & The Arrows—
Cycle-Delic Sounds Of...


Released 1967 on Tower
The Seth Man, April 2000ce
Roaring over the radio waves of America in the summer of ’67, The Arrows’ classic “Blues’ Theme” from the primal biker thriller “Wild Angels” re-defined post-surf instrumentals and successfully updated it for an era of freak-rock. Since 1963, Allan had gained beaucoup experience as a session man for his deft surf licks, backing countless one-off vocalists for singles and then low-budget soundtracks for exploitation movie mongers, American International Pictures. In 1967 alone, his heavily fuzzed-out, pre-punk guitar style was featured on countless albums for Tower and its Sidewalk subsidiary. Soundtracks for biker films, hot rod cash-ins, drug freak out flicks as well as Arrows albums were released that year, along with far too many session singles to mention here. But their third album, “Cycle-Delic Sounds Of…” remains their tour de force. The front cover is a super cool color photograph that catches the reflection of an alluring blonde catching your glimpse reflected in a circular motorcycle rear view mirror, while the back cover shows Allan and his denim-clad sidemen looking mean and moody as all hell. And the music wasn’t typical instrumental sleepwalking through covers of that period like “Season Of The Witch” or “Happy Together”, either. Instead, they were nasty, gnarly and raw epics, not mere instrumentals -- they’re psychically-charged power anthems to freedom, open road and dangerous orgasms of sheer arrogant fuzztone abuse. EVERY track is fantastic, and there’s not too many instrumental albums from the sixties you can say that about confidently. From previous soundtracks come “Devil’s Angels”, “Cody’s Theme” and “The Born Losers Theme”; the first being one of Allan’s most finest moments, ever with super ‘speed-whammy vibrato’ and double-tracked fuzz leads that belt out a majestic howler of biker anthem. And with Carol Kaye and Hal Blaine as the rhythm section, there’s no fear to how altogether tight yet unrestrained it is. “Cody’s Theme” shows his versatility and raw talent as a melodic player, with about $10,000,000 worth of twang and Western feeling throughout. “Born Losers Theme” is where Allan’s fuzztone goes neck and neck with an unwarranted brass section that he drowns out anyway -- meeting and then surpassing the pace of the paid-by-scale horn sessioneers...Ha! The remaining seven songs are all unique to this album, and they are ALL DERANGED. The title track, “Cycle-Delic”, is a nearly 7 minute rampage that incorporates waves of distorted wah-wah, fuzz ricocheting all over the place, and it doesn’t even stop when The Arrows shift gear and start riffing on “Gimme Some Lovin’”! Instead, Allan wrestles and finally strangles his wah-wah into a resounding explosion, coming out the other side of the settling dust as a gentle 12-string melody, accompanied by a poetically placed struck triangle.

Two other highlights (who am I kidding -- the whole album consists of nothing but) begin side 2: the first being “Another Cycle In Detroit”, a crazier and more unrestrained cousin of the “Hawaii Five-O’” theme, except this came out two years earlier! Starting up with The Arrows’ now trademark motorcycle revs, a hammering fuzztone guitar pummels you over the head for no good reason, and you’re now surrounded by castanets as the now-double tracked fuzztones start roaring, rushing all around your ears until you’re engulfed in its frothing fury, with more ‘speed tremolo’ action kicking you in the shins. “Grogs Hog” incorporates spy-movie percussion and vibra-slap as a demented riff gets funneled through some of the most garaged fuzz every played: distorted and cool beyond belief. This album was so fantastic I played it every day for ages and went on a searching spree for everything Davie Allan I could lay my hands on. Which lasted for years and kept my Link Wray albums off my stereo for far too long as a direct result.