Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Amish Mush-Muff Miff

Although a feature of many a Dickensian gent's fizzog and a perennial favourite of Amish men, the beard-no-'tache ensemble makes no sense in the 21st century. Nor did it make any sense back in 1973 from whence comes Painter's eponymous LP.

Surely the fiddliest part of shaving is negotiating that tricky undulating bit between nose and lip. If I was ever to grow a beard you could be damn sure that my top lip would feature a luxuriant welcome mat. To wilfully go to the effort of keeping just this part of your mug shorn must surely point to a thoroughly misguided stab at making a fashion statement (by the looks of that shirt I'd say this guy's a serial offender). Why not shave off your eyebrows or wax just one bollock? - it's just as non-sensical. You might have guessed that I'm not a fan of this man's ginger chin strap. Perhaps it's there to hold his urine-hued Aviators in place. Clearly, rose-tinted spectacles are not the only ones that dupe people into believing that things look better than they really are.

For once, my purchase of an obscure 1970s album occured in spite of, not because of, the facial hair being flaunted by the band. The presence of a drummer revelling in the name Bob Ego (Bob Ego!) was reason enough for me to ignore the coppery jaw muff and check out this slab of wax. The usual, ever-present, blue collar, hard rocking influences are all over this Canuck twelve incher: BTO, April Wine, Prism and Chilliwack. I'm delighted to report that Painter more than hold their own in this illustrious company. Back in the day, they even succeeded in squeezing a Canadian top twenty single out of the LP in the form of West Coast Woman. See what you make of the couple of tracks here. They're getting plenty of turntable time chez Shelf-Stacker.

Apparently, guitarist Danny Lowe (I can't shed any light on whether he's the one with the orange chin minge, I'm afraid) stumbled upon and helped develop an early form of surround sound called QSound, described in the sleeve notes of Roger Waters' Amused To Death LP as "a new audio technology producing a wider, more natural sound field". Okay weird beard, you're forgiven: I love that album!

A very grudging 5 out of 10

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