Monday, February 20, 2017

James Pike

James Pike
On Your Own Day You Are Believed
Sloow Tapes - CS 40

These recordings have the same classic private press vibe that permeates records as Terry Rojvi, Jim Collins, etc. Magical potion concocted by this Maine troubadour, channeling the elemental spirits towards inner light. 70 copies.

ON YOUR OWN DAY flickers like a late night candlelight vigil, sways like a somber god fearing congregation, lumbers like a spine tingling backwoods seance -- a fantastic offering of rural psychedelic folk rock that after having heard a game changer like JIMMY CARTER & DALLAS COUNTY GREEN and recently revisiting longtime favorite in archival texas psych gem COLD SUN's DARK SHADOWS, it wouldn't take much to convince me that these recordings are forty plus years old if not for the dust-free production, which is the most unexpected element of this SLOOW tape, well maybe other than it's apparent accessibility which to me most certainly reaches above and beyond an edition of 70

at first glance there is a certain pretense that seems gleaned from THE NATIONAL, OKKERVIL RIVER and WILCO - which might be outstanding and upstanding comparisons for some - i'm mostly luke warm on them myself - in any case this tape spirals toward folks like DONOVAN QUINN and WOODEN WAND, with earliest / best SPARKLEHORSE reverence and contemporary cassette comparison to WES TIREY and fellow SLOOW phenom SPENCER DOBBS [REC #116]

ON YOUR OWN DAY goes as PIKE goes - for one there's hardly anything else driving it - but not without a just-right amount of just-right accompaniment - absolutely crucial female vocal harmonies, touches of unexpected and brilliantly understated string (synth?) fermatas for simple yet devastating effect - neat, plain production and smartly reserved instrumentation and arrangement - all hallmarks of a "good folk album" i say, at times recalling one of my all time favorite tapes in TIREY's O ANNIHILATOR

PIKE's lyrics and delivery are familiar but a bit difficult to pin down - sometimes rambling and wry like TOTH, sometimes pensive and reflective like TIREY, more often than not a bit strung out like DOBBS or QUINN - of the five, i suppose PIKE is most apt to carry a tune as he croons a seemingly deeply personal set of sobering farewell transmissions and endearing ballads of loneliness and longing - "you will dream my dream, and i will dream your dream, we will dream... away... away..."

ON YOUR OWN DAY is a real gem, an outsider's diary of drunken ballads, moody dirges and sullen sing-alongs, a country folk tinged distillation of THE ROLLING STONES, CAT STEVENS and NIKKI SUDDEN, no frills no nonsense singer songwriter moves, brooding and vulnerable, stripped of all non essential parts with just enough of an edge and off-the-beaten-path quality to it, sounding both fresh and timeless, perhaps the true testament of a "classic" (PSI Lab)