Madder Lake - Stillpoint. 1973 Australia

Madder Lake - Stillpoint. 1973 Mushroom

I sense a theme here...

CD reissues: 1991 Mushroom; 2008 Aztec

Madder Lake's debut is a varied work, that references many of the influences of its day. Anything from the Oz standard of boogie/shuffle ('On My Way to Heaven') to catchy folk rock pop ('Goodbye Lollipop') onto Santana influenced jazz rock - it all can heard on Stillpoint. Perhaps the best track is the opening 8 1/2  minute 'Salmon Song' (wait a minute, was Steve Hillage...? Naw...), a primarily instrumental jazz rock piece that features some fantastic guitar and organ leads. Other highlights include 'Helper', which sounds like it could have fit in the middle of Blue Oyster Cult's Tyranny and Mutation album; the first half of 'Listen to the Morning Sunshine' is typical boogie, but the second half is all psychedelic goodness; and the two progressive oriented closers 'Song for Little Ernest' and '12-lb Toothbrush'. Ironically the latter track had a pop vocal motif that they filtered out for a hit single (as presented on the Aztec CD as a bonus track) - and became somewhat of a caricature sound for the band. They apparently never recovered their reputation locally because of it ("a millstone around their neck" as the liner notes put it). From my perspective, this is by far their better of two albums, and I could never reconcile with their sophomore effort Butterfly Farm despite a splendid cover.

Originals come in a nice rough paper, non-laminated gatefold. Of historical interest, this was the first album on the Mushroom label, and was more or less created by the manager of Madder Lake. The fantastic Aztec reissue comes with 8 bonus tracks. I've spoken at length already about how great these Aztec reissues are, so I'll stop here.

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