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'Don't Hear It, Fear It'
(Rise Above Records)

Phil Kane

phil kane

admiral sir cloudesley shovell

Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Cloudesley Shovell was quite a distinguished English naval officer. Rising through the ranks and finding himself involved in many naval battles of the late 17th century, he became a popular British hero whose celebrated career was brought to a premature end in a disastrous shipwreck off the Isles of Scilly in 1707. He also served as MP for Rochester from 1695 until his death.

There you are, now you know. Thanks Wikipaedia.

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Quite what it all has to do with this lot is not too clear but the suspicion is Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are a bunch of student types who have a nasty habit of trying and (heroically) failing to out Python Monty Python. Apparently fans of the band find the name a bit of a mouthful too and tend to refer to the band as The Shovell so perhaps the band should stop being quite so fucking clever, take that smug look off their collective faces and change the damn name.

So, with the above in mind you'd be expecting an album of the sort of avant gard technical bollocks that is so clever it is practically unlistenable; one of those nasty little albums that has its own agenda of unfathomable complexity that is so righteously intense they are in danger of busting a blood vessel and openly sneer at the fartiness of the unfortunate who has to listen to the drivel, right? WRONG!

This album is for those acid casualties who witnessed the head trips of Hawkwind's early gigs. With its strong psychedelic vibe that suggests there were some serious amounts of grass used in the making of this album, the overall sound has you wondering if the band had actually exhumed a genuine producer and engineer from 1969 and all that is missing are the pops and cracks of the needle in the groove.

Rock n' roll, in whatever form, has precious little left to discover about itself so it's more down to how it is done rather than what it does. 'Don't Hear It, Fear It' is a fucking brilliant mix of old and new with Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell's take on rock being like Sabbath and Hawkwind gate crashing one of those famous desert sessions, bringing The Groundhogs (apparently Tony McPhee from The Groundhogs contributes on 'Scratchin And Sniffin' and the hidden 'Bean Stew') along for the ride. This is a pretty heavy modern day stoner album that keeps one eye lovingly on the early seventies, yet does not feel dated at all.

Mind, nothing is easy and you have to persevere a bit with 'Don't Hear It, Fear It'. On initial listen you might find it all a bit dated, wondering what the hell it's all about but keep at it and you will be rewarded with a cracking little album that will prove essential company for that fridge full of beer. The vocals especially might prove a bit too tunelessly shouty but in the context of this album they are a perfect fit.

Album opener 'Mark Of The Beast' kicks things off with a swathe of phasing wackiness before a fuzzy Hawkwind style guitar riff grabs it by the scruff of the neck and slings it into orbit. Highlights are too numerous to mention though my favourites are the low-slung spaghetti western atmospherics of 'Devils Island' and 'iDeath' could have been an easy fit for any of Budgies early albums with 'Red Admiral Black Sunrise' out Creaming Cream.

'Scratchin' And Sniffin'' could give any of the late sixties heavy bands a run for their money. I could go on but really all you need to know is that this lot do effortlessly what a lot of bands have been busting a nut trying to do for the past several years.

It is not all sweetness and light though. The first seven minutes of hidden track 'Bean Stew' are of completely silent which is a bit bloody pointless. The track is not that good anyway and as for the NWOBHM lite 'Killer Kane', the less said the better.

Those small aberrations aside, 'Don't Hear It, Fear It' is a cracking album that will have those of a certain age peering wistfully about for that album sleeve to rest on whilst fiddling about with little bits of paper.

It's a habit thing. Excellent reefer headed heaven.



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