Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

DR. STRANGELY STRANGE - Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine

Released 1997 on Big Beat
Reviewed by horazio, 09/06/2008ce

Sometimes the greatness of a band's name matches with the quality of music they produce. This is the case of Irish Psychedelic Folk group Dr. Strangely Strange, which formed in Dublin, in 1967. Members Tim Booth (vocals and guitar) and Ivan Pawle (bass and keyboards), soon united with Tim Goulding (keyb, voc) & signed with legendary producer Joe Boyd. Their first record surfaced in '69 & a follow up appeared in '70 after which they soon disbanded reuniting for quick Irish tours in '73 & early 80's. They used to live in a house owned by Goulding girlfriend Orphan Annie which they called "The Orphanage". Later Booth established a similar house named "The Second Orphanage" helping launch the careers of Phil Lynott, Gary Moore & others. It's immortalized in the name of the sophomore Thin Lizzy record - 'Shades of a Blue Orphanage'.

A more well-thought return occured in '96 resulting in the recording of this platter. It's one of the best, kept secret albums of the 90's. Amazingly, they were able to preserve a sound typical of the late 60's-early 70's, also championed by the first line-up of Renaissance, formed by Keith Relf & Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds. The 3rd representative is previously reviewed band Illusion. It's simultaneously interplanetary & earthy, just like the aforementioned. Radiohead might've chopped off some inspiration from it, at the same time keeping it secret. Opener "Litty's", plus "The James Gang" & "Darksome Burn" are difinitive highlights. "Hades & Traces" is a folksy love tune, colored by beautiful female back-ups. "Planxty Roland" & "Epilog" are quite trippy & dreamy. The worldly "Strange World" (similar to P. Simon circa 'Graceland') can make you jumping up & down just like Donna Summer does.

Reviews Index