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Cranium Pie: Mechanisms Part 2

The Pie’s the limit on these bonkers proggers’ latest epic.

Three years ago, Classic Rock voted Cranium Pie’s Mechanisms Part 1 debut their ‘Bonkers Prog Album of 2012’.

Now the Wiltshire ensemble have returned with the sequel to that apocalyptic tale of battle between civilisations of robots and crayfish(!), and this epic new double set could well ensure a return victory. A homage to monumental 70s labels such as Harvest and Vertigo, as well as trailblazing bands like Van der Graaf, Soft Machine and the Nice, the Pie’s latest is a panoramic work of immense complexity, its four side-long tracks traversing a convoluted gamut of sections and movements. According to leader Rob Appleton, the story continues as the crayfish resistance find recordings made by the last band on Earth, which have remained sealed in a subterranean bunker for years and are now being beamed back. For over 70 minutes, the band test the boundaries of ‘weird prog’, laying deceptively calm carpets of sound before launching into the next eruption, staccato riff onslaughts, circle-jerking Dalek hoedowns and cinematic jazz-funk shimmer to create a sometimes head-scratching but rewarding journey to the outer limits, and beyond.

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!