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THE CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENT – Interstellar Autumn EP (Fortuna Pop!)

Posted: February 21st, 2006, by Dave Stockwell

It is with some embarrassment that I note the release date of this double ‘A’-side/25-minute EP was a while ago, but it is with no small enthusiasm that I recommend you go and dig this sucker out from your local indie store.

By all rights, the Chemistry Experiment should be an institution. Wilfully idiosyncratic and fascinatingly off-kilter, their brooding and experimental pop music deserves far more recognition than it generally receives. Plus, their devotion to perfectionism should be lauded – not many bands would have the patience to spend so long tweaking and fiddling with their debut album, with such spectacular results. Now, after slaving for five years over that rightly lauded album (released last year), they’ve already got around to banging out another four tracks (plus a song off the album) for this EP, led by a characteristically strange and sprawling amalgamation of two songs by other people.

Pressing play for the first time on this CD, I was struck how the first ten seconds sound like a snatch from DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing” album, but then I realised that this was the Experiment playing “Forever Autumn”, a song best-known for its inclusion in the famous War of the Worlds soundtrack (no, nothing to do with Spielberg). And a grand job the kids do in tackling a fairly drippy song,

Around four and a half minutes in they start vamping it up and you realise that the dreamy wistful melodies have been replaced by chaotic echoing slide dobro, droning synths, clattering drums and smears of cymbals that gradually peter out before regrouping and kicking into that familiar chord progression from “Interstellar Overdrive” by Messrs Barrett and those other cunts. Then, just to top it off, the Experiment pull a double-reverse and segue straight back into one final refrain from “Forever Autumn” as one final cherry for as proof of the pudding for this feast of a sonic gateau.*

Twee enthusiasts and apologists who might be feeling scared by this point, please note: the radio edit of the title song and album track “You’re the prettiest thing” (serving as the other ‘A’ side) save this CDEP from all-out prog nonsense. Don’t worry, the Experiment haven’t forsaken you entirely. But watch out! The remaining EP tracks include disco beats with swashbuckling wah-wah guitars on “Karin”, and then lots of heavenly squiggling synths alongside some neat vocodering of Steven J. Kirk’s distinctive vocals on a cover of “Belt and Shoelaces” originally by The Butterflies of Love.

Something of (another) triumph from The Chemistry Experiment then – a fantastically good-value-for-money deal on a serious chunk of music, along with a cracking couple of covers. Go seek it out.

[*Yes, I said sonic gateau. Sorry.]


Dave Stockwell

David can always be relied on to end his e-mails with one of those 'np: blah blah' things in order to remind us of how much more music he listens to every day than anybody else. His interests include rockin ' out in a major style as guitarist in Souvaris, throwing frisbees from tall buildings "just to see what happens" and simply kickin' back with his bitches in a gold-plated jacuzzi.


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