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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 170 - 07/26/10

The Failed
The Whole World Changed
Luna Nueva

From what I've learned, The Failed are a trio made up of members from Worcester prog/psych Dudes of Neptune, a band being compared to names like Hawkwind, Gong and Van der Graaf Generator. This of course all sounds very interesting, but for now the daringly named The Failed is the focal point. After listening to the first seconds of the opening title track from this, their debut album, I thought somebody must have slipped me the wrong CD. This sounded like a derailed L.A. hair metal act, but as the acid guitars started boiling, I came to my senses.

The album is otherwise filled with more reflective and often acousticly instrumented ballads, of which "Believe" is a fine example. Fuzz guitars visit from time to time, but not as often as one would expect, or could wish for. "Summer" uses tremolo guitars to good effect, and its latin percussion and guitar soloing hints at the early Santana sound. The bass sometimes adds a synth sound, like in the bass-driven "This Human Call", reminding me of Weather Report of all things, but this is of course not jazz. Some songs seem slightly unadventurous, like "Shining Bright" with its childlike piano soloing over repetetive one-chord acoustic guitar strumming, or "Luna Nueva", an instrumental track with a Spanish (as far as I can tell) spoken monologue, or the more fuzz-laden "Jealousy", which feels kind of static and slow-marching. Other times songs sounds like acoustic demos, like "In Any Storm". The almost 10 minute long "I Look Away" is arguably the most psychedelic track, growing into a wall of distorted feedback, making this and the title track obvious highlights from a space-rock point of view.

The Whole World Changed is a consistent album with an instantly recognizable and original sound and a fine collection of slower, melancholy and lightly psych-spiced songs. The production occasionally seem to lack bottom, and when the arrangements are sparse, this makes some songs seem somewhat grey or empty. On the other side, the artwork is all black and white, so perhaps this isn't meant to be a colourful acid trip, but a more broody experience. Also, vocalist Carl Neale has a distinctive voice and way of singing, which I guess may be an acquired taste. With such an excellent label name, we are nevertheless obliged to let our thumbs point upwards!

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