Cyclops - Goat Volume (1992)

Bringing together the talents of Peter Jefferies on drums and vocals and Kathy Bull on bass, vocals and guitar, along with guitarist/singer Bruce Blucher and singer/keyboardist Andre Richardson, Cyclops produced this one fine album mostly taken from a series of sessions in 1991 and 1992. Unsurprisingly each performer brings something from their own particular backgrounds in New Zealand underground rock, together resulting in a casual but not lazy series of songs that sounds like it was good fun to perform. This said, much of the dank, crumbling sound of Kiwi experimentalism runs unsurprisingly rampant. Recording, often overseen by noted producer/engineer Steven Kilroy on four or eight track machines, is lo-fi well before that became a hip phrase, thick and rough, but with a passion that comes through on every note. "Lunar Fall," a wonderful number written and sung by Bull, is a great example; its soaring guitar would seem to demand U2-style production levels, but recorded in the lovely haze as it is, it sounds much more affecting as a result, her vocals just right as well. Blucher is the chief songwriter and singer for the line-up, but everything much more like a collaboration than simply an interpretation of other's work, such is the feeling of the songs. When the various members experiment with other instruments, such as Bull's mandolin on "Gurgie Throat" or Blucher's ragged trumpet on, unsurprisingly, "Fallen Golden Trumpets," the results are even more effective, adding more variety to the low-key flow of the album. Other highlights include the Richardson/Blucher duet on "Steel White Bed," with another beautiful guitar line and crush in the background of the mix, and the no-percussion-needed "Spolcyc," with all members but Bull present and using keyboards and guitar to create the soundtrack to a gruesome spoken word tale.

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