Chesterfield Kings
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Here Are (1982), 5/10
Stop (1985), 6/10
Don't Open Til Doomsday (1987), 5/10
The Berlin Wall of Sound , 5/10
Let's Go Get Stoned , 5/10
Surfin' Rampage , 6/10
Where The Action Is , 5/10
Mindbending Sounds (2003), 6/10

The Chesterfield Kings led the psychedelic revival of the early 1980s that bands like Distorted Level has pioneered in the late Seventies with weird ditties like Hey Mister (1978). Formed in 1979 in Rochester (new York) by former Distorted Level singer, underground music journalist and avid record collector Greg Prevost with enfant prodige Andy Babiuk (16 years old at the time) and keyboardist Orest Guran the Chesterfield Kings offered an oleographic and overly nostalgic view of psychedelia. Not only did their repertory consist entirely of obscure covers, but the band also aimed at duplicating the look and feel of the garage-punk bands of the Sixties. Here Are (Bomp, 1982) was the album that contributed to starting the psychedelic revival of the 1980s.

Even when they started composing their own material, namely with She Told Me Lies and Cry Your Eyes Out on Stop (Mirror, 1985), their sound remained mostly inspired by the likes of the Chocolate Watchband.

Don't Open Til Doomsday (Mirror, 1987) is an uninspired and confused album that showed their limits as songwriters (Selfish Little Girl is one of the few exceptions).

Night Of The Living Eyes (Mirror, 1989) collects rarities and live tracks.

With the addition of blues guitarist Paul Rocco, The Berlin Wall of Sound (Mirror, 1990) adopted a much harder sound and displayed an arrogant, macho stance (Love Hate Revenge, Sick And Tired Of You). Coke Bottle Blues is an imitation of Howling Wolf, that preludes to Drunk On Muddy Water (Mirror, 1990), an album of blues covers.

After a long hiatus, the band resurfaced with Let's Go Get Stoned (Mirror, 1995), an amusing imitation of Rolling Stones classics. This was the beginning of a new career, focused on mimicking styles and musicians of the past.

Surfin' Rampage (Mirror, 1997) is an equally faithful tribute to surf music (32 songs).

Where The Action Is (Sundazed, 1999) marks a return to their garage-rock roots and a parallel retreat to the format of the cover (only four originals, including A Lovely Sort Of Death). Yoko (Velocette, 2003) is more subdued effort. The sound and the verve are probably their best, but the material is still mediocre or not theirs.

Mindbending Sounds (Sundazed, 2003) fulfills the trilogy of musical reconstruction with impeccable retro'-sounding melodies such as I Don't Understands, Non-Entity, Flashback. The arrangements are so baroque that they often evoke the Electric Prunes (Transparent Life, Disconnection). It also features a rare Jorma Kaukonen apparition on the two philosophical interludes: Mystery Trip and Death Is The Only Real Thing.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Andrea Salacone)

I Chesterfield Kings hanno aperto la via al revival psichedelico dei primi anni ottanta, di cui erano stati precursori verso la fine degli anni settanta gruppi come i Distorted Levels con canzoncine bizzarre come Hey Mister (1978).

Formati nel 1979 a Rochester (New York) dall’ex cantante dei Distorted Levels, Greg Provost, giornalista musicale underground e fervido collezionista di dischi, con l’enfant prodige Andy Babiuk (all’epoca appena sedicenne) e con il tastierista Orest Guran, i Chesterfield Kings hanno offerto una visione oleografica ed eccessivamente nostalgica della psichedelia.

Il loro repertorio era infatti composto interamente di cover sconosciute, e inoltre la band mirava a riprodurre il look e le atmosfere dei gruppi garage-punk degli anni sessanta. Here are (Bomp, 1982) è stato l’album che ha contribuito all’inizio del revival psichedelico degli anni ottanta.

Il sound della band è rimasto perlopiù ispirato a gruppi come la Chocolate Watchband, anche quando hanno iniziato a comporre materiale proprio, cioè She Told Me Lies e Cry Your Eyes Out su Stop (Mirror, 1985).

L’album Don’t Open Til Doomsday (Mirror, 1987), disordinato e privo d’ispirazione, ha messo in evidenza i loro limiti come compositori (Selfish Little Girl è una delle poche eccezioni).

Night of the Living Eyes (Mirror, 1989) raccoglie rarità e tracce dal vivo.

Con l’aggiunta del chitarrista blues Paul Rocco, The Berlin Wall of Sound (Mirror, 1990) ha adottato un sound più duro e rivelato un atteggiamento macho e arrogante (Love Hate Revenge, Sick and Tired of You).

Coke Bottle Blues, che fa il verso a Howlin’ Wolf, introduce Drunk on Muddy Water (Mirror, 1990), un disco di cover blues.

Dopo una lunga interruzione, la band è tornata in scena con Let’s Go Get Stoned (Mirror, 1995), una divertente imitazione dei classici dei Rolling Stones. E’ stato l’inizio di una nuova carriera, dedita allo scimmiottamento di musicisti e stili del passato.

Surfin’ Rampage (Mirror, 1997) è un fedele tributo alla musica surf (con 32 pezzi).

Where the Action Is (Sundazed, 1999) segna il ritorno alle loro radici garage-rock e, allo stesso tempo, un ritorno all’uso delle cover (solo quattro canzoni originali, tra cui A Lovely Sort of Death).

Mindbending Sounds completa la trilogia dedicata alla "ricostruzione" musicale.

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