Beau Bowen’s release is Manna from Heaven for me, it ticks just about every box, glam? check, Prog? check, psychedelia?, yep, check.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: Beau Bowen
ALBUM: The Great Anticlimax
LABEL: Self Released
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England, Australia
LINEUP: Beau Bowen – guitar, bass, vocals * Dean Pearson – drums * Laurie Blundell – piano * Lewis Wright – vibraphone
TRACK LISTING: 01 The Great Anticlimax * 02 A Rock N Roll Story * 03 Time Is An Illusion Baby * 04 Comic Renaissance I * 05 Messianic Indulgence II * 06 Cosmic Renaissance II * 07 The Life I Chose for Myself * 08 Universe in Reverse * 09 Bisolar Disorder
What little I can glean from the ‘net, Beau Bowen is a London-based Aussie who some 18 months or so ago went under the name of Kaleb McKane. He released a 3 track EP ‘Universe In Reverse’ which by all accounts channelled his inner David Bowie, Roxy Music and Jimi Hendrix leanings.
We also saw him complete a support slot with Uli John Roth around the UK but, it seems with little impact, so here he is again and McKane has now morphed into Beau Bowen with his strange, but compelling hybrid of Glam, Prog and Psychedelia.
Just the nine tracks and clocking in at just over 30 minutes, so you can forget about extended 10 minute epics and such like. Everything here is raw, punchy and oh so very addictive. The title track kicks off with a Bowie like croon accompanied with just an acoustic guitar, before exploding into a full on glam anthem.
The first single from the album ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Story’ sounds like an outtake from the great dame’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ opus, and again simmers slowly before a glorious cacophony of guitars kick in and goes off on a Prog/Glam head trip, if you get my meaning. ‘Time Is An Illusion Baby’ is a ballad of quite epic proportions, switching between saccharin pop one minute, and Prog excess the next.
The album’s centrepiece is next up and comes in three parts: ‘Cosmic Renaissance I’ which is a short space age doodle. We move into the wonderfully titled ‘Messianic Indulgence’ which again is something that could come straight from Bowie’s Ziggy/Aladdin Sane era, and features some lovely, florid Mike Garson like piano, as well as some way out psychedelic guitar histrionics. It finishes up with a little Bossa Nova for good measure. ‘Cosmic Renaissance II’, is again a short trippy psych piece.
We fall straight into ‘The Life I Chose for Myself’, which is a smouldering, slow burner that will have any casual listener confused as to what camp Bowen wants to fit into. ‘Universe In Reverse’ harks back to his days as McKane and once more defies any easy categorisation. And finally album closer ‘Bisolar Disorder’ is a wonderfully fuzzed out Psychedelic piece that just like everything that came before it had me in raptures.
This sort of release is Manna from Heaven for me; it ticks just about every box. Glam? check, Prog? check. Psychedelia?, yep, check. The recent press photos and videos show Beau Bowen as a full on glamster, from the hair, boots and flares, but It could be argued that there is TOO much going on, with this record and its confounding changing styles of music.
But I get the feeling it’s all done with a slight ‘devil may care’ attitude, and that’s probably why I love it so much. It most certainly harks back to a time when the music scene was more, dare I say it, experimental, but also simpler. I’m talking the early 70’s here. If this doesn’t feature in my top 3 by the end of the year then there have been some seriously good releases between now and then.
A Rock N Roll Story