Thank Christ For The Bomb is simply essentially the most wonderful album I’ve ever heard. One minute it’s a full-on energy trio taking part in this manic, nearly punk rock – indignant, antiestablishment, anti-war stuff – and the following minute it drops proper down into this extraordinarily quiet and refined finger-picking stuff.
Tony McPhee, the guitarist, is an absolute genius, I used to face and watch him on the Croydon Greyhound. I’d stand proper on the entrance and work out which chords he was taking part in. However he made most of them up himself. He was the British Hendrix, y’know? He may do hovering suggestions solos, and actually took the entire guitar-playing factor so far as he may.
And what he doesn’t know concerning the blues isn’t price realizing. I imply, Clapton? Don’t get me on to that tosspot – he had one solo and bored us to loss of life for 30 years with it. He’s a turgid git. McPhee’s the actual factor. Each night time he performs a music, he performs it in another way. And that’s an exquisite factor, to not repeat your self.
Thank Christ… got here out in 1970. I obtained it then. I need to’ve worn out about three vinyl copies through the years. I used to play it on a regular basis. Once I obtained into songwriting myself – I wouldn’t say I nicked from it – however I used to be grateful to be influenced by that stuff.
I considered it as psychedelic punk – them and Delicate Machine and Syd Barrett. The issue with the expression ‘prog rock’ is that it’s been sullied by the likes of Yes and Genesis and ELP. So for those who say you’re into prog rock, everyone thinks you’re into that [booming voice] ‘Oh, I noticed a wizard strolling by means of the woods the opposite day. The pixies have been working round…’ Dum dum dum dum – 20 minute guitar solo… ‘After which the wizard stated…’
I imply, fuckin’ ’ell, what’s that shit about? But it surely’s like classical music. There’s nice classical music. Rachmaninov – he’s sensible. Sibelius – he’s fucking genius. After which there’s crap like Mozart and Beethoven. Similar with prog rock. There was some fantastic stuff, like all of the Krautrock stuff with Neu! and Kraftwerk, after which there was the bombastic nonsense that Sure produced.
The Groundhogs have been in all probability the best instance of prog rock you possibly can presumably get – a combination of blues and psychedelia and pop that’s by no means been bettered, earlier than or since. Thank Christ… is an ideal album. There’s not a filler monitor on it and the sequence is sensible.
Plus, McPhee produced all of it himself. There’s all these stunning echoes on it. There’s not many ‘expertise boosters’ on there – you realize, like flange, part, refrain or silly results like that. The one actual impact he makes use of is a little bit of reverb and echo – he’s obtained this excellent slap-back echo on the vocal that’s actually efficient.
It’s additionally as moody as hell. It offers with very huge points like shedding one’s thoughts within the face of an insane world. It’s not a barrel of snickers, it needs to be stated.
Captain Smart was chatting with Scott Rowley.