To coincide with the recent release of DC Fontana's 'Pentagram Man' EP, we are pleased to add the band to our latest installment of blogs...
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Review by Jon Mills
DC Fontana return with sonic medicine for troubled times in the form of the mesmerising six-track ‘Pentagram Man’ EP & have upped the game with a lysergic change of pace. The results are simply stunning! British psychedelic shaman Peter Daltrey (song-writer and leader of Kaleidoscope / Fairfield Parlour) thinks so too; after he saw the group playing live in Gijón, Spain he practically begged to write the sleeve notes of their coming release…. & he has! Whilst on the topic of ’60s heroes the record also includes a bonus version of the title track sung by blue-eyed vocal legend Don Fardon (ex-Sorrows) whose voice sits comfortably in the fold.
Earlier this year DC had something of a line-up shuffle, ditching much of the horns & replacing the singer. New addition Louise Turner sang backing vocals on Elbow’s Mercury Prize-winning & platinum-selling album The Seldom Seen Kid, with her platinum bob, panda kohl eyes & expressive voice she is certainly a worthy addition to the canon. Part Dusty / part Debbie Harry she’s as adaptable to sounds & styles as the band.
As is the norm with DC the new record has a lot on offer. Opening track ‘Pentagram Man’ deals with the human penchant for self-delusion & is expressed via a tale about a character from Birmingham who’s convinced himself he is a long-lost relative of occultist Aleister Crowley. Musically the band reaches for the rainbow’s end with a catchy psychedelic song including a great sing-along outro. ‘DevilAngel’ is the tune that seems to be grabbing most attention with its anthemic, yet idiosyncratic sound utilising a brave range of instruments ranging from the usual DC line up of guitars, drums, keyboards & horns with the unusual combination of hammered dulcimers, Chinese yangqin, autoharp, cor anglais, oboe. ‘What Would It Take?’ is DC Fontana at their most skeletal as they deliver a beautiful modern day anti-war song with acid-folk flavours; Turner singing beautifully over Tony Russell’s finger picked acoustic accompaniment with a splash of Gallic accordion & Nick Drake-esque flute. Fourth on the EP is a new interpretation of Scott Riley’s ‘Satisfied’, one of the band’s most popular songs live on stage... again DC opt for a more organic & acoustic treatment this time with almost prog-folk & jazz vibes weaving together over some bluesy piano & Beatley cellos! ‘Sighed DC’ is the most striking DC Fontana recording yet & some people claim it’s their ‘Revolution No. 9’ moment…. the tune is an eight-minute long ambient trip of psychedelic bliss with witchy chants & a Mediaeval Spanish magic spell incantation while celeste & wah-wah guitars bleed into dreamy Mellotrons, orchestral strings & even Indian sarangi to create surreal voodoo. Additional production is from Rob Cross, once of Mr. Ray’s Wig World.
Once again produced by long-time Julian Cope guitarist/producer Donald Ross Skinner, whose involvement is clearly increasing with every DC release, this six-track maxi-EP sees the band moving in new directions, exploring more sounds & production techniques.
A very British take on the world’s 2012 obsession with psychedelia…. Listen.