HEY! Get updates to this and the CD and 7" blogs via Twitter: @VinylUnderbite

18 February 2015

Fraction - 'Moon Blood' (Phoenix)

There's something that divides people about this Fraction record. Maybe I swallowed the Kool-Aid pushed by The Acid Archives (which calls tracks 2-4 "among the most powerful music ever laid down", and that this is the "underground heavy psych monster to conquer them all") and other such private-press aficionados. Maybe this is really a third-rate amped-up Steppenwolf ripoff, a bunch of Christian meathead biker-rock garbage that would be intolerable were it not obscure. But whenever I hear 'Come Out of Her' I realise I must side with The Acid Archives, even if they do say that this bootleg copy sounds terrible compared to the official pressings. I'm not even a huge heavy rock guy - I don't own any Sabbath records even, and my sense of 'heavy' is probably different than most folks (I often cite Richard Thompson's 'Calvary Cross' as one of the heaviest tracks ever). Yet something about this album rips me apart. It's not so much the earnest, religious lyrics (which could all be easily about sex if you just substitute "vagina" for "God", though I guess most hymns could work that way too) as the extreme way that Jim Beach belts them out - it's like an unholy merger of Robert Plant and Jim Morrison, except I don't like either of those guys much. The recording really is good, even on this bootleg pressing, and I can imagine how a lesser production would dampen the impact of this. (Or, we can wonder how many other half-decent obscurities would have benefitted from better production). I can't deny the obscure nature of this is part of what appeals to me, but it's not obscurity for obscurity's sake. What's amazing about Fraction was that they existed at all, and I wonder what their lives were (are?) like, committed to this very uncompromising style of rock music but fervently theological in their execution. Maybe, as a nonbeliever myself, I like flirting with the idea of Christianity because it's the most 'out' trip of all, and the truest rebellion that I could enact in my life. I wonder what, if any, drugs were consumed - you'd think their beliefs would forbid it, but this sounds hand-in-hand with so many other heavy psych records which quite frequently partook. I'm with the Archives on this - this is a beast, an utterly singular record that's not an every-day listen (and may not offer many lessons in 2015) but hard to ignore when it does see the turntable.

No comments:

Post a Comment