Magic Bus - Phillip The Egg album review

Devonian deviance with a Canterbury core

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There’s always a slight danger that echoes of the psychedelic past will sound more like The Rutles’ Cheese And Onions than See Emily Play. No such mishaps befall Magic Bus on their third full-length: in fact, this is an object lesson in getting everything exactly right. Opening epic Mystical Mountain is a nine-minute marvel that starts like a skewed reimagining of Caravan’s Golf Girl before drifting into hazier pastures with wellsprings of flute, Moog, Mellotron and an assortment of other glittering delights underpinning the song’s gently melancholic saunter. The blissful piano interlude that leads into the song’s Hammond-sodden, angular, proto metal denouement is a spellbinding touch. Fans of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals will clock the dewy-eyed love of the Canterbury set (and the first Soft Machine album in particular) throughout, but there’s nothing contrived about these songs. At their most succinct, on the sparky Fading Light and lysergic miniature Kalamazoo, the Totnes sextet exhibit a lightness of touch that goes some way to explaining how Phillip The Egg may soon be regarded alongside the records that inspired it, rather than as some earnest imitation. All aboard for a genuinely magical mystery tour.