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Monday, January 2, 2012

FINALLY GIVING A SPIN TO: the Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by the Incredible String Band

FINALLY GIVING A SPIN TO: the Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter by the Incredible String Band

This year I plan to listen at least one album every week that I've never gotten around to listening to in it's entirety. They might be albums I know only one or two songs off of, but more than likely they'll be albums that are totally new to me. I have no plan of attack in how I'll select the albums, but they'll most likely be albums I've seen referenced in reviews of other albums or those albums that I just know of but have never actually heard.

For the inaugural "FINALLY GIVING A SPIN TO" I'm going with a band I had a hunch I wouldn't like and avoided for many years, Scotland's psychedelic folk eccentrics the Incredible String Band. I'm sick of seeing them mentioned in articles without knowing what they sound like (it's hard to read Mojo without seeing a String Band reference). From what I've read, their third album, 1968's the Hangman's Beautiful Daughter is their deifinitve album, so that's where I'm starting.

My main fear was that this was going to be too hippyish for me, and that's what it turned out to be. This album is what I imagine always playing in the head of Neil from the Young Ones. Much of the instrumentation is intriguing, especially some of the Eastern instruments I'm not very familiar with, and they create a great ambiance. But the amatuerish communal vibe doesn't work for me, it sounds dated to my ears to the point of feeling more like a parody, which I know it's not. At times I hear little bits of Syd Barrett or Frank Zappa, but I think both of those artists went into the studio with better songs. Strangely I also hear a bit of Chris Knox occassionally in the vocals and some of the improvised percussion - I'm curious if he was an ISB fan. I'm not exactly sure what I was looking for in this album, but I think if they were even a little weirder or had a more outgoing sense of humor I might be more interested. This is one of those albums that I'll have to just accept that I'm not the target audience for. Although I'm glad I finally gave it a listen.

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