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1 September 2009

Bachs - 'Out of the Bachs' (Void)

Seventy-six goddam LPs and we've finally made it to the second letter, which is a remarkable feeling. And this relatively recent addition to the Spinal Underbite is one of those "privately-pressed" pysch records that've been all the rage in recent years, and usually are obscure for a reason. But not the Bachs! I don't know what's up with Void records - their website, printed on the jacket, is of the stores.ebay.com domain ... but in the A4 laser-printed liner notes, they claim this is
"hailed as the greatest garage album of all time". Well, I'll take that superlative without any need for salt, cause this record is fucking awesome. See, there's something fragile and slightly inept about it. Certainly, the recording session was led by a person who had never seen magnetic tape before - the record is saturated with phasing problems, a weird echo, and the greatest of rhythmic hesitations (greatest as in historically awesome, not lengthy). And the songwriting, it's not shy nor is it particularly confident. Out of the Bachs sounds a bit like a record made in a parallel dimension. I guess these suburban Chicago kids got quite popular playing school dances and the occasional wedding, and they ended up making enough money to lay down this LP before they went to college (or something like that. I quite enjoy intentionally mangling history sometimes). So this record was made, showcasing the two-lead singer, three-guitars-but-it-ain't-heavy sound through 12 rather bouncy numbers. Yeah, it's the late 1960s and they aren't straying too far from their Nuggetsy roots, but this record contains at least two absolute total classics, coming right in the middle of the listen. 'Minister to a Mind Diseased's lyrics even grace the back cover, as if to say "hey, this song is IMPORTANT!". It's edgy and slightly deranged; there's a funny ebb and flow to this song and it really honestly deserves to be up there with the 'Like a Rolling Stone's and 'A Day in the Life's that Other People are always going on about. But then flip the record and you get 'Tables of Grass Fields', with ringing chords that shine like a Move record held underwater, fighting for air. Plus, a killer tom-tom solo. I have a feeling this record will come in and out of print, in various semi-legitimate 'reissues', til the end of time. And maybe that's best for it - would a big proper deluxe attention-whoring box set (come on people, a Bachs Set!) do justice? Music like this, though they were grasping for some sort of BeatlesKinksWho legitimacy at the time, is forever relegated to the margins. And I'm happy with it there.

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