Review of Happy Nightmare Baby

by Maurizio Lucenti
issued on Mucchio Selvaggio #117 (October 1987)

A dive into the past. The meeting between a guitarist graduate in Art History exile from the rain parade finished the emergency, and a charming maiden who hasn't renewed the membership card to the dream syndicate ended the days of wine and roses. The mutual understanding between these two fellows is immediate, and during the rainy days their artistic feelings prove harmonious about the passion for the gentle and ethereal psychedelia. A dive into the past, I said, and in effect this is the question: the duet draws his store of sonorities going back at least of twenty years, Grateful Dead, Syd Barrett, Doors and the whole psychedelia of that period. A dive into the past represented metaphorically by the old black and white pictures of the Authors on the cover. A fruitful trip, no doubt: we're hanging, floating upon an indefinite point in time and in space, held up by the impalpable magic of this astonishing electric flow, produced by David Roback's restless guitar and softened by Kendra Smith's sweet and winning voice. Stars turn into usual playmates, while mind is lost in lisergic suggestions and vocal caresses.
Nine pieces, all justly expressive of the worth of the band: from the rhythmical gait of Rocket Machine to the violent sourness of Magik Power, from the dreaming mysticism of Relevation to the eclectic veins blues of A Falling Star and She's A Diamond, from the stellar echoes of Supernova (in which Kendra sings: "She knows the sun…/She knows the moon…/She knows the rain…/She knows the wind…" and really I feel like thinking she knows the forces of nature in their inwardness, such is her talent for bewitching us) to the eastern and winding texture of Siamese Trap. And in conclusion the title-track, a pure gem made of acoustic embroideries in the style of the enchanting Northern Line (included on their debut EP), which materializes the ghost of The Doors, and the final Soul Giver whose brightness we already knew it.
Happy nightmare. Maybe one day we shall awake and laugh at this joke that is our life. In the meanwhile, Opal be with you.

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