The Upland Band – Living In Paradise (2023)
GermanyLP / CD / digital – Kutter 063
Label: Kapitän Platte,
Although newly released in 2023, here is an album that evokes wonderful memories from the late 1960 / Mid-1970s. I’ll explain further by saying that this particular time span was a period ripe for the production of self-produced albums. Bands like Creation, Fleur-de-Lys, Gandalf the Grey, Lazy Smoke, and Ithaca. Etc. come to mind. Albums that were originally released in minuscule quantities but which later found their way into the care of ‘Gramophiles. Such musical nuggets are now demanding huge sums of money on the collectors market. So I am rambling here simply to draw a comparison between ’The Uplands’ quirky slice of delicate yet busy homespun psychedelia, with the oft-private press releases of yesteryear. ‘Living in Paradise’ is an album for sure that has all the style and unpretentious charm of the early seventies.
The brains behind this project is multi-instrumentalist Michael Beckett (ex-Tuesday Weld) who composed, produced, recorded, and mixed all the material with substantial assistance from Dirk Kretz (also Ex-Tuesday Weld.
Many novels have been written where the author has taken inspiration from their surrounding hometown with people they have known or with whom they have associated! Well, apparently the inspiration for this album is loosely based around the inhabitants of a sleepy village in the uplands of the Rhine Valley in North West Germany. So in effect, the album follows a conceptual pattern immersed within a framework of neighborly tittle-tattle. More grippingly such village gossip is totally drenched within a framework of softly projected psychedelia.
Whilst the general tempo of the music follows a fairly genial path of melodic charm, there are some wonderful outbursts of spikey-treated guitar with full-on fuzz-laden passages altogether an adornment of glorious noisy accompaniments.
The vocals are really well delivered in a kind of matter-of-fact style that truly reinforces the ‘gossip over the garden fence’ conceptual stylisation. The platform for the music is a series of dreamlike keyboard contributions with seemingly simple but totally adequate percussive backing.
Summary: An adorable fun album in total, with fascinating gobbledygook lyrics and totally drenched in 1970s charm. An album that could become a real collector’s piece in years to come.
- A Partial Overview Of The Neighborhood
- Metamphetamine and Clay
- Walk Or Run
- The Curly Kale Express
- Swastika Ink
- Down and Out (In the 17th Century)
- Rain, Sleet and Mud