Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bow Street Runners - Bow Street Runners (1970)


Sounding like a blend of Jefferson Airplane and the Doors, Bow Street Runners was a Fayetteville, North Carolina-based psychedelic band who released one eponymous album in limited quantities on B.T. Puppy Records in 1970. While the group was ignored at the time, Bow Street Runners became a collectible item among psychedelic aficionados during the '80s and '90s, leading to its 1996 reissue by Sundazed Records.


Using the trippy, folky rock of Jefferson Airplane and eerie, organ-driven soundscapes as a foundation, the Bow Street Runners may not have many original ideas in their head, but that's part of their appeal. Their lone, eponymous album is filled with attempts at hippie mysticism and menacing, swirling fuzzy psychedelia, yet the group has neither the inclination or the talent to turn it into something original. Nevertheless, the group is somewhat distinctive in the ways its attempts fail -- "Spunky Monkey" is an aimless and slightly ridiculous blues jam, "Eating from a Plastic Hand" has a silly, ominous minor-key melody and, best of all, "Watch" sounds like Ringo Starr fronting the Doors. It doesn't make for good or provocative music, but as a late-'60s artifact, it's fascinating

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