Blue Orchids

Mystic Bud

BY Scott ReidPublished Apr 1, 2004

Sometimes an album’s title can describe its sound far better than any string of lofty adjectives or obscure comparisons. You could probably hazard a guess at what an album titled Mystic Bud, the fourth album from the Blue Orchids (led by ex-Fall guitarist Martin Bramah), would sound like, even without glancing at its psychedelic green-tinted cover art. "I’m selling soul stuff,” Bramah proclaims in the chorus of the opening track, and he could just as well be speaking of his music as the "mystic bud” itself. Much like their previous three releases, Bud is a psychedelic (you’re shocked, I know) folk record beautifully carved from hushed vocals, dense arrangements and a hazy, indiscrete production. The strangest moment comes with a cover of the Archies’ "Sugar, Sugar” that manages to transform the bubble-gum classic into a shoegaze death march that stylistically falls between Jesus & Mary Chain and Velvet Underground. The rest is makes for an interesting listen, but perhaps it tries to stay a little too faithful to its subject matter; by the end, the energy begins to waver, the mood turns indifferent and you’re hard pressed to remember exactly what happened.

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