Words by Alex Napoliello
Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, the birthplace of psychedelic rock, Mushroom capitalizes on the sound that fed the counter-culture movement and subsequently died with it in 1970, till now. Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed, the band’s first album in three years, revitalizes the grooves and vibes that led to peace signs, tie-dye, and flower children.
This 13-track LP, released on April 27 through 4 Zero Records/Royal Potato Family, deserves to be played in a dark room filled with the aroma of incense and a substance that can elevate you to the next level. Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed is simply therapeutic and reaches nirvana through its array of soothing sounds constructed by a blend of sitar, violin, pump organ, celesta, vibraharp, dulcimer and flutophone.
The first three tracks: “Celebration At Big Sur (The Sound of The Gulls Outside Of Room),” “Jerry Rubin: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “All The Guitar Players Around Sean Smith Say He’s Got It Coming, But He Gets it While He Can,” (that was a mouthful, I know) take you on a trip to a far away place and provide for the out-of-body experience that many look to achieve with every drop of acid.
Awakened by the fifth track, “Take Off Your Face and Recover From That Trip You’ve Been On” does just what the title infers — it’s funky and snaps you back to reality, reminding you that you’re still on planet earth and no, you’re not stuck in the late 60’s.
The long, strange trip continues with the heavily middle-eastern influenced “Tariq Ali,” and dives into the more classical, string-based symphony, “Though You’re Where You Want To Be, You’re Not Where You Belong.”
The last stop of the album arrives at a cover of the late Syd Barret and Kevin Ayers’ collaboration, “Singing A Song In The Morning,” and is the only track that features vocals. Unlike Barret’s fate after Floyd, this track releases you from the sub-conscious state of mind the former tracks take you to.
First formed in the mid-‘90s, Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed, is the band’s 12th album. Mushroom is an ensemble of various Bay area musicians, and although their cast of contributors rotates and changes, it’s clear that the pieces in the puzzle somehow always find a way to fit. Mushroom takes on a persona and sound that encompasses, and pays homage to, decades of counter culture influences that gave way to their latest endeavor.
At the time of the recording, the band had just come off a multi-night run of performances interpreting Pete Townshend’s 1971 rock opera Lifehouse. Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed doesn’t mimic The Who’s loud, explosive guitar riffs and drum fills that coined the term acid rock, however, Mushroom gives new meaning to this classification, sounding more like Pink Floyd’s epic 16-minute ballad “Echoes” than “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
“Naked, Stoned, & Stabbed”
Royal Potato Family
© April 27th, 2010
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