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27 January 2009

Complex - Complex (MONSTER GARAGE PSYCHEDELIC UK 1970)


complex,complex,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,acid,vinyl,tenth_planet,sundazed,vox_organ,lysergia,amplifier,scotland,front"COMPLEX - COMPLEX" (MONSTER GARAGE PSYCHEDELIC UK 1970)

This is a "MONSTER" album !!!

In spite of its humble origins and the warm, friendly nature of its contents, the self-titled album by British band COMPLEX shines as a main beacon in the ragged waters of the controversy.

As one of the "Holy Trinity" items of rare British Psychedelia -- the other two being Dark and "Forever Amber"...

... the album and the band are somewhat notorious today, and their story needn't be rehashed.
The Complex LP was recorded off-hours in a Blackpool pub and pressed by a budget operation in Scotland.

complex,complex,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,acid,vinyl,tenth_planet,sundazed,vox_organ,lysergia,amplifier,scotland,bandMuch has been made of the primitive, noisy nature of the 99 copies (CLPM 001) the group received for their troubles, but the original recording wasn't exactly a 24-track aural masterpiece either.
What it sounds like, as the album's fans tend to agree, is remarkably similar to what was coming out of American Garages in 1966-1968.
Not just in terms of the compressed two-track recording and its accompanying live-in-the-basement feel, but also the songwriting, the vocal style, the delightful teen organ sound and the upbeat, innocent lyrics which seem so 'wrong' for November 1970.
In fact, upon hearing the fabulous 1968 Garage/Folk-Rock LP by "Mystery Meat" from Illinois one of the first things that struck me was how much it sounded like Complex, of all damn bands.
For an album recorded ostensibly for demo purposes it is surprisingly well-structured and elaborate.
The strength of the individual songs is such that the underlying theme may become fully visible only after many plays, if at all.
At the same time this theme permeates the musical mood from the first minute to the last, so that even on a brief encounter one will catch a glimpse of it.
This is a great achievement and the band was fortunate, in a backwards way, to have the thematic unity further enhanced by a primitive recording and pressing.

To me Complex'album is one of the best LPs ever made about being young, capturing the mood of a naive yet hopeful teenager in an almost painfully honest way.
It also shows a progression, a confrontation with the dubious games of youth that need to be dismissed, and even starts looking back on itself, a 20 year-old being nostalgic for his days as a 17 year-old.
Like the classic American Garage 45s it resembles -- "I Never Loved Her" by "The Starfires", "People Ask Me Why" by "The Dovers", etc -- there isn't a phony moment on it, yet it's full of inadvertent subtexts and insecurities, like some kid's diary made available for the public.
There aren't many albums of this kind anywhere, and finding it buried under the mountain of inhuman, condescending, pseudo-artistic Rock music produced in England in 1970-1971 is a little miracle.

See also "Complex - The Way We Feel (MONSTER GARAGE PSYCHEDELIC UK 1971)"

Acid Archives

More info

see also the new COMPLEX site!!!

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