Album Review: Corsica Garden by Os Noctambulos

Every now and again you discover some music that just blows you away, it speaks to you so directly and viscerally that you cant really explain why you like it. Even more rarely comes something that completely changes your musical frame of reference and sets you off on a new path, exploring new directions which feel fresh and exciting.

This is how I felt when I first heard the, what I now know to be, famous and highly influential Nuggets compilation; expanded to cover four CDs worth of mind-blowing material. That was in 1998, a full thirty years after the originals were recorded. Not only was I amazed by what I’d heard, I wondered why it had taken me so long to come across it.

Hearing those songs, and the subsequent Nuggets II of tracks from “The British Empire and Beyond” provided me with the missing link for so much music that I already liked as well as providing me with a new touchstone for great music (as regular readers will probably have guessed by now), and a baseline from which to explore the sixties afresh.

This also planted the seed for my love of psych music, which has been germinating for the past four years or so; and has helped me to appreciate a wide variety of bands who might have otherwise passed me by. Some of these might seem abstract, but that most definitely cannot be said of Os Noctambulos whose new album comes out at a time when I’m re-exploring the Nuggets era: I’ve been listening to a lot of likes of Crystal Syphon, The David, and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.

Corsica Garden is the first real chance I’ve had to listen to Os Noctambulos and I must say that I like what I hear. From the first bars of ‘Forever’ there is no doubt that this is a band that locates themselves primarily in the sixties as far as influences are concerned, yet it is a testament to the power of garage/ psych/ proto-punk/ freakbeat/ surf rock (whatever you want to call it) that it still sounds so fresh today.these are songs that are stripped back of all the accretions that years and years of rock and roll deposits have left on music, it takes us back to the source. But it takes us there through great songwriting and playing.

Mastered by MJ of Hookworms, this is an album that is, itself, like a compilation because Os Noctambulos turn their collective to talented hands to many of the aforementioned genre in a way that still makes this sound like a coherent album rather than a collection of songs.

I like this album because it’s a kind of ‘one stop’ for many of the sounds that I really like. I like this album because it puts a huge smile on my face. I like this album because it reminds me of what rock and roll music is all about, and where it came from.

Os Noctambulos are:

Bass – Coline Presley

Drums – Baldo

Guitar/Organ/Piano/Vox – Nick Wheeldon

Lead Guitar – Valentin Buchens

Produced by Nick Wheeldon

Mastered by Matthew Johnson at Suburban Home Studio

Recorded 16th/17th July 2013 at Corsica Garden

Backing Vocals on Wild by Eléonore Gabriel & Stephane Piquemal

Backing Vocals on It Scares Me by Eléonore Gabriel

The album is released by Evil Hoodoo on 01 September 2014



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