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Friday, June 13, 2014

Fat Mattress - s/t

Name: Fat Mattress
Album: s/t
Year: 1969
Style: Folk/Psychedelic Rock/Pop
Similar Bands: Monkees, Bee-Gees, Echo Orbiter, Ween, The Who
"One-Word" Review: Renaissance Psychedelica 
Based Out Of: Folkestone, England
Label: Atco, Polydor-Englad, Atlantic
 Fat Mattress - Cover
Fat Mattress - Inner Fold
Fat Mattress - Record Labels
Fat Mattress - s/t (1969)

  1. All Night Drinker 3:28
  2. I Don't Mind - 3:51
  3. Bright New Way - 3:45
  4. Petrol Pump Assistant - 3:01
  5. Mr. Moonshine - 4:04/
  6. Magic Forest - 3:05
  7. She Came in the Morning - 3:47
  8. Everything's Blue - 2:50
  9. Walking Through a Garden - 3:20
  10. How Can I Live - 4:26


Album Rating (1-10): 8.0

Members & Other Bands:
Noel Redding - Guitars, Vox (Strangers, Lonely Ones, Loving Kind, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Burnettes, Road, Shut Up Frank, Lord Sutch & Heavy Friends, 305 AM)
Neil Landon - Vox (Pat Cahill, Cheetahs, Burnettes, The Flower Pot Men, The Ivy League, Mainhorse Airline, Klaus Voorman)
Jim Leverton - Bass,  harpsichordorgan, vocals, production (The Big Beats, Lonely Ones, Loving Kind, Engelbert Humperdink, Burnettes, Blodwyn Pig, Caravan, Juicy Lucy, Hemlock, Joe Brown & The Bruvvers, Steve Marriott, The Blue Devils, Rocky and the Natives)
Eric Dillon - Drummer
Mitch Miller - Drums
Chris Wood - Flute
Jimi Hendrix - Percussion
George Chkiantz - Engineering
Gered Mankowitz - Photography
Paragon Publiciy - sleeve design
Adrian Morgan - Liner Notes

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of Fat Mattress, and when I found this album, it was just the record: no cover, in a white cut out sleeve. So I did not know what I was getting with this. I was familiar with the label, and knew that it was an older record, but I was mostly enticed by the rather silly name to pick it up. A quick google search shed light on the album, but that does not mean I knew what I was getting when I picked it up in a thrift store. And when I did get it I had no ideas to go off of as to what it contained.

Album Review: I had never heard of Fat Mattress, and when I found this album, it was just the record: no cover, in a white cut out sleeve. So I did not know what I was getting with this. I was familiar with the label, and knew that it was an older record, but I was mostly enticed by the rather silly name to pick it up. A quick google search shed light on the album, but that does not mean I knew what I was getting when I picked it up in a thrift store. And when I did get it I had no ideas to go off of as to what it contained.


The research on the record revealed that it is a side project by the bass player in The Jimi Hendrix Experience: a folkier, psychedelic pop band. They even opened for JHE a couple of times, but barely held together for two albums.

“All Night Drinker” starts out with a very psychedelic feel, accented perfectly with a flute and back-mixed vocals, The tempo of the song is mystical and echoing production feels very beatnik-y. Overall it generates a bold, yet dark feel. It is also aptly names, as the music leads itself quite naturally to background music to an alcohol imbibing montage.
“I Don't Mind” starts with a drum beat and a jangely guitar sounding like a Belle & Sebastian song, but quickly evolves into a Monkees style side to side pop song, reminding me a little of “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” And the calming psychedelic chorus drifts off and blends nicely into the second verse, like something Echo Orbiter would do. The spacey breakdowns materialize nicely into straightforward driving pop, and vice versa. And the whole songs ends with a vibrating vocal fade.
“Bright New Way” is a bright and sunny, folksy guitar hoe-down, a little like the Kinks. It reminds me a little of Ween’s “Argus” or “Chocolate Town.”
“Petrol Pump Assistant” starts with a bass line that sounds like The Lion Sleeps Tonight, but the song takes on a style much closer to the Beatles “Tax Man:” a bouncy pop song, with a great build and drive in the chorus. The end is a bit of a drawn out jam, but it does not last too long.
“Mr. Moonshine” is a straightforward psych song. Wandering and echoey, and dark bass notes behind the Bee-Gees harmonies. The break down into an instrumental is truly dreamy, like spinning and falling at the same time, before it comes back into a heavier, classic rock stylized version of the chorus.

“Magic Forest” has a couple of odd voices before it dips into a psychedelic camp fire story song, reminding me of John Entwistle’s solo album. The chorus is a fun, staggered jangley romp, and it makes it hard to return the the body of the song, so it stays on the hook for the majority of the second half of the song, carrying the repetitive momentum out to the end.
“She Came in the Morning” sounds like a folksy produced balladeer’s song. Like something you’d hear on the adult comtemporary male vocalist records. I don’t even know the difference between the likes of Jack Jones, Paul Anka and Johnny Mathis to tell the difference, or give an accurate description. Just that this is a light slowish floating/dream song.
“Everything's Blue” sounds like a radio single. It starts out rushed and wired, and the chorus is great garage rock hook. This reminds me of the Who, maybe a little Big Star. Lots of energy and emotion as the song strides on to the end and fades out.
“Walking Through a Garden” is a renaissance style psychedelic tune, which sounds like it would involve a group dance amongst fancy dressed high society elites. Maybe like a very slow song from XTC’s Mummer album.
“How Can I Live” starts with a nice Beatle-y psychedelic jam, full on harmony and 7-note head-nodding bass line on loop. But they just can’t get away from the Lion Sleeps Tonight bass line, this time, it is inverted in the first breakdown.

Stand Out Track: Petrol Pump Assistant

Links:
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