Various Artists
Paul Major: Feel the Music Vol. 1

(Anthology Recordings)


Paul Major’s fascination with garage, fuzz and psychedelic music stemmed from a record-collecting obsession that started in the mid ’60s. A regular raider of record store bargain bins and insatiable tracker of private pressings, his passion for the rare and offbeat ensures that ‘Feel the Music Vol. 1’ plays out in his image. In one respect, it’s a collection of genres that become united in their diversity as you bounce from broken-down blues rock to ethereal psych-folk and a host of unclassifiable sounds in between; in another, it’s a curation that reads like a hardcore collector’s Discogs wishlist.

Opener ‘The Travesty of My Life’ kicks in with a raw wail and ‘Immigrant Song’ riff, Justyn Rees’ ‘Behold’ plays out like Santana stuck in Twin Peaks and the Yays & Nays add a lip-curling, garage rock bounce with ‘Let it All Hang Out’. But it’s the avant-garde weirdness of Jerry Solomon’s ‘Denied’ that best captures the outsider sounds Major has spent a lifetime coveting and collecting. It’s an unsettling and oddly compelling listen: two tremulous vocals weave around each other; skittish harp slashes in and out; and maracas fade in from nowhere to make it feel almost shamanic. It’s the equivalent of The Simpsons’ “a plum floating in perfume in a man’s hat” (Season 5, Episode 1 – “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet”) and the strangest interloper in this bric-a-brac odyssey.