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Magic Mushroom Band - Pictures In My Mind: 1984-1994 reissue album review

Ersatz space rockers compiled

Magic Mushroom Band Pictures In My Mind: Anthology 1984-1994 album cover

The passing of time, coupled with any number of documentaries spread over BBC 4 and other arts channels, has served to obscure the fact of just how big the hippies still were as a subculture back in the shoulder-padded and mulleted 1980s. Lest we forget, this was as much a decade of protest, travellers and free festivals as the 1960s ever were, if not more so.

It’s against this backdrop that the Magic Mushroom Band came into being. Formed in the wilds of, um, the Home Counties, the band took their cues from the likes of Hawkwind, Gong and the Pink Fairies, as well as West Coast rock.

As evidenced by this 31-track, two-CD compilation, with material taken from the five albums the group released on Magick Eye Records, Magic Mushroom Band were never going to win any prizes for originality. Though played with a verve and enthusiasm that’s in all too short supply, Magic Mushroom Band were too in thrall of their forebears to be truly innovative.

Magic Eye and Wild Eyed And Electrick lean heavily on Dave Brock and co, while Love Resurrection tips a hat to La Düsseldorf. The years have not been kind.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.