July 14, 2024

Pink Fairies – ‘Resident Reptiles’    is a journey in a time machine to a place that is always now

PURPLE PYRAMID RECORDS      24th August 2018

Here’s a real oddity – a timeless slice of garage rock, harking back to a golden age, recorded in the US but as British as all get out, assembled by a man who hasn’t been in the band for twenty years. It’s a great record!

The Pink Fairies were a classic underground psychedelic band of the British seventies, making classic rock and roll boogie of the sort Hawkwind made a name for. They moved in the same circles and even worked as Pinkwind on occasion. Paul Rudolph leads on this album and he played bass briefly for Hawkwind when Lemmy was sacked. He, too, was ditched soon after. A number of bands have flown the Pink Fairies flag, with one or more of the original members and perhaps they are more a feeling than a line-up. Paul Rudolph left the band in 1972 and only rejoined for a couple of years, preferring to run his bicycle repair business. The last album, Naked Radio, shares no common members with this one and Paul is the only former member apart from old Stiff Records label-mate, Larry Wallis. Larry was also in the original Motorhead, along with Lucas Fox – on drums for this album.

But, you ask, what’s it like? It is just what you’d expect and all the better for it. Mostly recorded live, it has the churning boogie and light-hearted “sod it all” attitude of previous releases. The title track has semi-silly lyrics around the ruling class being giant lizards atop a basic three chord rock boogie. When I say ‘basic’, I mean good. Great rock and roll isn’t fancy. Think The Stooges – the sound of men in a dingy cellar with the amps turned up to ten. Your Cover Is Blown is very swampy and Stooge-y, real garage rock. The chugging blues get a look in on Mirage and there is a real Hawkwind space-boogie feel to Lone Wolf, where frantic bass thumping blasts things along. Nicely squally guitar figures decorate Whipping Boy’s similar sound before it goes a bit Steppenwolf. We’re onto a serious topic to close, with Apologise describing colonisation and its aftermath.

The music is driving or chugging, always simple and always mighty real. This might be a different band but it is the same spirit, the spirit of underground anarchists, the squat scene, free festivals and good time rock and roll. Like I said at the start of this review – this is timeless but has (to quote Hawkwind), the “spirit of the age”.

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