The Dandelion Set - A Thousand Strands 1975-2015 album review

Alan Moore-approved Northampton underground weirdness straddling 40 years

The Dandelion Set - A Thousand Strands 1975-2015 album artwork

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With cover notes by legendary British graphic novelist Alan Moore, this album captures 40 years of creative starbursts and experiments conducted by Northampton duo Glyn Bush and PK Chown and realised by four unlikely-named multi-instrumentalists.

“Their music was a ghostly wireless transmission from the future,” declares Moore, each track constructing its own surreal jigsaw, paying homage to early 70s Zappa-Soft Machine jazz rock on Don’t Let Me Die In Black And White (flailing horns by one Cornelius Flybody), the guitar reveries of idiosyncratic US guitar legend John Fahey on The Black Spider Memo and twisting acid house riffs on Nine Regal. Tone Garden affectionately parodies 60s children’s TV and Bottom Rung mangles its vocals over lo-fi electronica. Moore contributes lyrics to the cockney John Cooper Clark-like reading of Judy Switched Off The TV and Dark Doorway Launderette, a highlight that achieves its claustrophobically trippy atmosphere by wrapping its unison male-female vocals in swirling psychedelic organ. There are 12 such bold broadcasts from this timeless but prescient world of the culprits’ own making; each one different but united in classic English eccentricity.

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!