Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Baba Yaga

Released 1996 on Ultimate
Reviewed by Goatboy, 24/04/2000ce

If it's lost heroes that you are looking for you could do a lot worse than Terry Bickers. For the uninitiated Bickers was guitarist with the House Of Love through the classic period of "Christine", "Destroy The Heart" and their first Creation album. After an acrimonius split with Guy Chadwick Bickers left to form perhaps the best band ever, Levitation. Their story is for another place, but after a brace of visionary eps and a masterful album ("Need For Not") Bickers left and disappeared into the cracks.
After a few years absence Bickers re-emerged with a new band, Cradle, comprising Bickers, Caroline Tree and various floating musicians. A single, "Second Nature" preceeded the album, perhaps the most upbeat track on the album and the opening track. Not exactly representative, as the rest of the album is a beautifully laid back rural psychedlic meander. Where Levitation had been a box of fireworks Cradle were fairylights in a tree. Highlights are the fragile "Gifts of Unknown Things", the Swansesque "Black Tea" and the 15mins+ "Chloe's Room" which combines hypnotic guitar work from Bickers with Tree reading "The Hunting of The Snark".
It has been suggested that Tree's vocals leave a little bit to be desired but that's unfair. This is that rare thing, an album that carries equal parts strength and beauty.
After a couple of gigs in London Cradle disappeared without trace. Bickers seems to have dropped off the map entirely as his ex-Levitation bandmates have gone on to great things with Dark Star. This world is a less interesting place without him.

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