Lullabies for Catatonics review – A serious swing through the archives

Fri, Jun 28, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Lullabies for Catatonics

Artist:
Various Artists

Label:
Grapefruit Records

Genre:
Alternative

While the subtitle (a Journey through the British avant-pop/art rock scene 1967-74) is catnip for the inquisitive music fan, the music is a serious swing through the archives.

Segmented across three discs (Spontaneous Underground, Tea on the Lawn, The Wind Sings Winter Songs), this is yet another terrific dot-joining exercise from Grapefruit Records. It’s also always very interesting to discover where musicians in certain groups started out and ended up in.

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Advancing the notion that The Beatles entry into avant-garde pop helped form the UK underground scene (with provincial groups such as The Soft Machine and Pink Floyd taking up the baton and going fully-fledged psychedelic), and that Bob Dylan’s lyrics inspired the free-your-ass-and-your-mind-will-follow brigade of UK poets (Pete Sinfield, Pete Brown, Adrian Henri), the music here ranges from wanton experimental pop (The Liverpool Scene, Genesis, Eyes of Blue, Coxhill-Bedford Duo) to off-kilter commercial fare (Curved Air, Stackridge, Be-Bop Deluxe, 10cc, Mick Ronson).

The overriding feature, however, is of a national music scene digging in, getting their perfumed hands dirty, and generally making the best of a mind-altering, often very puzzling situation.