I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about This Fucking Album that has suddenly grasped me so firmly athwart the balls and led me to wonder if I’m not experiencing some sort of musical paradigm shift. I haven’t experienced anything on this order since I first bumped into Sacred Sound by IQ, or the day I realised why Yes are legit flipping brilliant. Every time, it comes with a measure of confusion and anxiety. I spent weeks trying to reconcile Rick Wakeman, the floppy, smug tory opposite Richard Whiteley in dictionary corner with Rick Wakeman, the pretentious, cape-wearing virtuoso who made Fragile a completely essential album.
With All by Colour Haze, I’ve figured out the deal, and quite quickly too. This album is a giant hot fudge gateau right, a cake as dense as an elephant’s plutonium plimsoll, with more layers than Stephen Fry’s cognitive dissonance, and you’re getting dragged through it, like a homo in Hazzard County. Just when you think you’ve got used to the chocolate cake, you’ve been plunged through a layer of vanilla cream and fudge, directly into the centre of a black cherry.
It’s bizarre, every tune builds and builds in an entirely comprehensible and logical way, using nothing but the simplest of bricks. Yet smothered over the top are some of the most unpredictable and frankly, brilliant ideas. You never quite know where you’re going to be headed next, but every twist and turn flows smoothly and naturally, such that you never feel lost; your attention is never jolted away from the record’s incredible atmosphere. It is absolutely no exaggeration to say you can trip off this album.
One is a case in point. Let me give you the official Demon Pigeon guided tour of this marvellous song.
To the uninitiated, it’s going to sound a bit like a random meandering kitchen sink stoner tune with some pretentious eastern influences, best enjoyed on the fuzzier end of intoxicated. It’s psychedelia with a capital Del, and it will make you think about time and galaxies and pubes and whatnot. It kicks off with this bluesy, timber frame riff, moodier than the foregoing tunes, alternating with a thicker fuzzier refrain. 90 seconds later, all of a sudden, the timbers get joists, and the entire mood transforms, lofting itself skyward like Jesus in a jetpack, even as the sound gains about 20lbs of muscle.
Meanwhile up pops the song’s only lyric, some happy-clappy guff about ‘coming together’. Every time it repeats, it comes back different, harmonised, transposed, whatever. Before you’ve got used to that, oh hey what’s up, it’s a fucking sitar. At this point the inebriated mind is just overwhelmed by an absolute soup of sound being funnelled at high pressure through the lughole. The song jams along like that for a while, and you will begin to feel as if someone has just let the bath overflow in your skull, filling your brainpan with lovely warm water, and bit by bit, the thing sort of shrivels up and fades away, long before you’re really ready to give it up. A bit like coming off the tit.
Then it only fucking comes back, sitar and all, except this time it’s got some woman crooning away mermaid-style in the background! On top of everything else, it’s just an extra 30-second plunger slam of sonic morphine, and forms a pretty perfect coda. Utterly smashing.
And I could probably write something just as embarrassingly gushing about every single one of the other nine tunes. This is a record that recalls to my mind the likes of Dark Side of the Moon, and Machine Head, and Welcome to Sky Valley. Seriously, I love it that much. In fact, the geography of Colour Haze’s sound is such a good match for Kyuss, you could easily see All as a companion to …Sky Valley. They fit together very nicely. Can’t really think of a better recommendation than that.