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Various Artists / Acid Mothers Temple Family | A Charabang Trip to the Lights...The Final Earworm Singles / Do Whatever You Want, Don't Do Whatever You Don't Want! (Earworm)
And so the good ship Earworm burns up in Earth's orbit after 6 years of astral transmissions. The eclectic breadth of the label's releases, ranging from quirky electronica, off-kilter psych-pop and Kraut riffola, ventured far beyond the supposed limitations of a one-man industry. In fact, it is a fitting tribute to main-man Dominic Martin's vision that the final two Earworm releases are amongst the label's strongest. The six bands featured on 'A Charabang Trip to the Lights' are relatively unknown, yet manage to encompass the sonic agenda of the label. In his sleeve notes, Dominic urges the listener to treat this album "as if playing a stack of 45s," as the 7" and 12" formats were the original destinations for these artists. First off the starting blocks are Norway's Salvatore, sprinting into pole position with three breakneck mororik instrumentals, including Get the Kids on the Street, it's a Party, one of the highlights of last year's 'Fresh' album. Next up are the Cranebuilders, providing the link between lo-fi pop and the rich songwriting talents of fellow Liverpool alumni as The Teardrop Explodes and The Bunnymen. The bedroom aesthetic continues with the beefy melodicism of Ireland's House of Mexico and Glasgow's Interferons, sharing a love of tuneful C86 and ragged punk pop. The compilation's psych-outs come courtesy of Shimmer Kids Underpop Association and Landshipping (ex-Metrotone). Shimmer Kids seem like a mutant offshoot of the Village Green Preservation Society, as their Kinksian paisley pop finds kinship with the likes of the Essex Green. Landshipping's Keep On brings the album to a nervy conclusion with its insistent and oscillating hybrid of the Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire. From Space-rock to melodic DIY psychedelia and back again, 'Charabang' successfully ties up all the loose ends of Earworm operations except one.
Determined not to end with a whimper but with a veritable sonic boom, the final Earworm release is an inspired compilation of the multitudinous activities of Japan's Acid Mothers Temple Soul Collective, stemming from the insanely prolific output of main-man Kawabata Makoto. This triple CD set is the perfect introduction for the uninitiated as well as an early Christmas present to those well versed in the psychedelic lore of Makoto. Disc one unleashes the savage beast of Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO, letting rip with a gargantuan studio version of live staple Pink Lady Lemonade, an acid rock odyssey of mesmerising guitar arpeggios and 'Space Ritual' synthesiser blasts, clocking in at over sixty minutes. Disc two runs riot in the archives of the collective, unearthing the shamanic power of outfits Zoffy and Floating Flower, as well as showcasing the folk and psych prowess of world-wide acts such as Maquiladora, Fursaxa and Frederic, part of the AMT extended family. The final disc acts as a tribute to Makoto himself: a selection of collaborations (with Masonna, amongst others) and solo works. These range from the frenzied axe toppings added to Shogo-nari's folk brew to the galactic vibrations of I Want You to Kiss Me Again, similar in intent to the recent Ochre album 'Infinite Love.' Miss this psychotropic feast at your peril!

Simon Berkovitch
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002