Paul Roland: In The Opium Den: The Early Recordings 1980-1987

Cabinet of earliest curiosities.

Paul Roland In The Opium Den: The Early Recordings 1980-1987 album cover

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Dubbed “the male Kate Bush” by Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Roland approaches his songs like hand-stitched labours of love to be glimpsed through an arcane, wonder-tinted microscope, as he ponders Victorian murderers, supernatural experiences or the horror stories of Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft.

Against ornate gothic backdrops, his twinkling parallel universe can happily project comic book sorcerer Dr Strange gambling happily along with screen werewolf Lon Chaney.

Roland’s long career started with the three albums gathered on these two CDs; 1980’s The Werewolf Of London, 1985’s Burnt Orchids and 1987’s Danse Macabre. The latter alone places horror-psych masterworks such as Witchfinder General and this collection’s evocative title track next to a striking version of the Floyd’s Matilda Mother to homage his beloved Syd Barrett.

Also including singles, EPs and out-takes, this fascinating magical mystery tour is the perfect entry point into the evocative creative maze Roland has been expanding ever since.

Kris Needs

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!