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Strapping Fieldhands | Third Kingdom | review | rock | Lollipop
The Third Kingdom (Omphalos)
by Brian Varney
I get the feeling these guys are record geeks. Maybe it's that "takes one to know one" thing, or maybe it's the fact that there are a bunch of esoteric references that I recognize without knowing what they are. Hey, I guess working in a record store wasn't a complete waste of two years of my life. My experience at that job introduced me to people like this, people who go crazy over private pressings of acid/psych folk recorded by some Syd Barrett wannabe on a broken four-track for $27 and pressed in a numbered limited edition of 19 copies triple 7" on colored vinyl. Or found field recordings of Taiwanese migrant workers onto which some genius decided to dub wah-wah guitars and flanged drums. Or something on Folkways you've never heard of.
Don't know what the fuck I'm talking about? Good. That is the best state of mind with which to embark upon a Strapping Fieldhands (great name, by the way) listening experience because this stuff is liable to leave you with a blank stare, a half-cocked eyebrow, and a "What the fuck is that?" look on your face. Psych guitars and sensitive folk vox are slammed into one another with disconcerting time signatures and fucked-up time changes galore. The result is a big fuckin' mess, like you tried to throw everything in your refrigerator into the same pot at the same time. Some people don't mind a mess; some even prefer it.
Texturally and conceptually this is pretty interesting if you're the sort of record geek I already mentioned or if you can't help but crane your head to get a better look when you drive by a scooter wreck, but if you're the sort who doesn't wanna spend the day after a party scraping chop suey off the walls, you'd best look elsewhere.
(727 S. 7th St. Philadelphia, PA 19147)