7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1968's Fiery Furnaces,
This review is from: Song Cycle (Audio CD)
Parks was a child actor from Hollywood with a talent for words and an old-fashioned take on things. He famously collaborated with Brian Wilson, but more tellingly wrote "Come in the Sunshine" for Harper's Bizarre.
This album is like Harper's Bizarre if they had been truly bizarre. We get snatches of other tunes, apparently "wrong" key changes, instruments it's almost impossible to identify, polyrythymic effects married to slightly effete vocals, tunes apparently rooted in the 1920s flapper-scene Americana and plenty of playful fun (where else can you get a tune called "Van Dyke Parks" published in the Public Domain and a tune called "Public Domain" published by Van Dyke Parks?
Why does this record divide reviews so much? I've just been looking at the Amazon reviews for the Fiery Furnaces and it strikes me first how much the reviews of both are polarized as well as how similar the music is. More than the Furnaces, even, Park's music sounds like what a music-hall revue might sound like after you've been given a deadly cocktail of narcotics and you're about to die. Underwater.
Why do people like this, then? Becuase it doesn't give up all it's secrets on the first (or fifth) listen. Even after years of listening, I'm still noticing things I've not noticed before. It flaunts its differences and revels in its eccentricity.
If you've a taste for brave experiemental music, where the unexpected can happen at any time, then this one's a must. What do you mean, not available?