Vinny Peculiar: How I Learned to Love the Freaks – Cracking pop/rock songs with shrewd lyrics

Indeed, the decidedly astute Mister Peculiar has only gone and done it again

How I Learned to Love the Freaks
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Artist: Vinny Peculiar
Genre: Pop/Rock
Label: Shadrack & Duxbury Records

“There were voices calling inside everybody’s head, I bought velvet loon pants and a book about Tibet ... Met my girlfriend at the station, there were other pilgrims there, smoked a reefer on the sidewalk, met a kid with purple hair...” The song is Going to San Francisco, and once again, droll UK songwriter and singer Vinny Peculiar (aka Alan Wilkes) has fashioned a themed album that blends sociopolitical explorations with autobiographical background.

The album pays trippy, guitar-bliss tribute to not only mid-late 1960s politicised youth culture but also the (perhaps unwitting) pioneering work they achieved through, proverbially speaking, kicking out the jams and sticking it to the man. “My watch had started melting, there were rainbows in my eyes” continues the bluesy Going to San Francisco, while in the jangly Headshop, it’s all “Tarot cards and hookah pipes, dreamcatchers and wind chimes ... Game of Thrones jigsaw, joss sticks all the way from Jaipur.”

The title track refers to hippie-baiting by suedeheads, while the psych-pop, spoken word Flower Power presents a neat overview of the enduring influence of countercultural ideas. Cracking pop/rock songs that reference pre-punk UK bands such as T. Rex and The Glitter Band, US Woodstock-era groups such as Jefferson Airplane, and garage/proto-punk acts such as The Chocolate Watchband seamlessly merge with sardonic, shrewd, storytelling lyrics. Yes, indeed – the decidedly astute Mister Peculiar has only gone and done it again.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture