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Music Review: The Stevenson Ranch Davidians – Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs

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The Stevenson Ranch Davidians claim that they're a "trip to outer space with stops at the moon and the afterlife." That sounds like the sort of thing I would normally heartily approve of. So why then when I play this CD do I hear nothing but recycled Spiritualized and (The) Verve licks and tricks?

Now, I happen to have a great deal of time for Jason Pierce and his madder Spiritualized outings, and A Storm in Heaven by The Verve is a peach of an album from before the days that Richard Ashcroft starting believing the voices in his head. But do I really want to hear it all over again, 15 years after the event? Um, not really.

I suppose over in Los Angeles the pre-Britpop days of yore probably seem like an exotic, far away place where flat caps, whippets and Class A drugs all mix together in a crazy assed psychedelic swirl, much in the same way as I yearn for a Georgia front porch and a wide selection of guns — The lure of strange daze. And they're actually good at what they do. They've got the quiet vocals, the psychedelic swirl, the washes of organ and a spot on production. Maybe, if I wasn't so old and gnarly I might get more from it, but apart from a couple of songs, there wasn't anything that leapt out and commanded my attention.

The best bits are where they go a wee bit further back in time and have a bash at '60s British psychedelia, when bands weren't afraid to call themselves Dantalions Chariot and release records called Madman Running Through The Fields. Whereas, nowadays, they'd get a good thumping from the pseudo police. So when the Stevenson Ranch Davidians try to channel the three minutes when Syd Barrett wasn't a waste of air, the members actually become "A Very Good Band." So you might want to have a taste of "Let It All Go" and "Inbetween Everything," where they manage to get the right mix of whimsy and melody.

There is a place for this kind of thing as the limited success of The Polyphonic Spree and the Brian Jonestown Massacre demonstrates, but Dwayne (lead singer, rhythm guitarist and lyricist), Jessica (bassist/organist), Cary (lead guitars) and Bryan will need to up their game a bit, if they plan on being around for the long haul.

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About Stuart A Hamilton

  • twisted brother

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my 15 year old Verve records. But I’m glad there are great bands around like this turning out more great music in the style. And BJM is vegas style act. That’s all I’m sayin’.

  • Frank

    Lovely mellow tunes herein. Typical holier than thou music journo bollocks.

  • Typical holier than thou music review commenter bollocks.

  • How is it that you don’t consider the Verve and Spiritualized “recycled” bits of the 60’s as well? I love them both (and also the BJM and Stevenson Ranch Davidians). If it’s good it’s good, that’s all.

  • Fer

    Forget this article. This is a beautiful honest record.

  • JP

    They sound pretty damn good to me…

  • kirill

    agh author is a twat this album is amazing