Melodic Revolution Records Series (#3.2)
Murky Red | No Pocus Without Hocus
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2015
Genre: Progressive Stoner Rock
Stef Flaming – Songwriting/Guitars & Vocals
Rene Martraux – Drums
Yolanda Flaming – Keyboards & Vocals
Patrick Dujardin – Guitars
Luke Lantin – Bass
Marie Vancamp – Backing Vocals & Percussion
Stoned & Horny
Sweet Dark Hypnosis
She’s Crying Diamonds
Nothing Can Go Wrong
A Wooden Groove
Collateral Damage (ft. Colin Tench)
Bad Wolf Of The Pack
In the last installment of the Melodic Revolution Records series I covered Murky Red’s debut album Time Doesn’t Matter. This is part 2 of 2 of my Murky Red’s sophomoric offering No Pocus Without Hocus 2015. Since we last left off the band has gone through some major industry growing pains and even some personnel changes. However still at the core of the band are Stefan and Yolanda Flaming and Marie Vancamp. This one is also mixed and mastered by Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, Karibow and Colin Tench Project). Joining the band this time around are Rene Martraeux – Drums, Patrick Dujardin – Guitars and Luke Lantin – Bass.
Murky Red’s No Pocus Without Hocus continues the progressive, psychedelic, stoner sounds of the latter part of the 1960’s to the middle 1970’s. Keep in mind although the band is heavily influenced from that time period they manage to present the music and compositions with a modern sound and flavour. The music is never dated whatsoever. Much like their debut Time Doesn’t Matter, No Pocus Without Hocus maintains a level of sense of humour with its lyrical content. The band present the music seriously without taking themselves serious at the same time. Considering what the band has had to go through and endure between albums I would say the sense of humour in the music was probably therapy for them in the writing, recording and production process.
No Pocus Without Hocus is a much more melodic album. While many of the same fuzzy distorted elements have remained the melodies and vocal harmonies have both increased and matured since Time Doesn’t Matter. The guitar solos have a much cleaner sound to them but it still does not take away from the band’s unique signature sound. This album also has 11 tracks on it much like Time Doesn’t Matter did. Now a few highlights from each track on what is No Pocus Without Hocus.
Pixelated Friends begins with a thunderous almost brooding drum beat before the signature fuzzy distortion of stoner rock kicks in. This song is very tuned down and very methodical in its nature. It is as if it is stalking the senses of the listener. Lyrically it is about the contemporary subject of our lives online particularly in the area of social media. The guitars interchange between rhythmic to lead chord progression. The Hammond Organ gives this a very eerie and haunting quality to the music. The Hammond is very Jon Lord style in nature.
Stoned & Horny is a tale about being out late at the party all night and being both blasted and having to have another desire met. The band perform this is a very comical and funny way to remove any serious stigmata from the title subject matter. The keyboards are more like Ray Manzerek from The Doors with songs like Love Her Madly and When The Music Over. The guitar solo is very bluesy in its nature. This song is a very laid back composition to allow the listener to breathe and come into the atmosphere created instead of being overwhelmed by it. The rhythm section really serves as the spine of the track.
Sweet Dark Hypnosis is the typical stoner rock song with heavy distorted fuzzy rhythm guitars and a very laid back atmosphere in the drum/bass rhythm section. The Hammond style keyboard keep this in a vintage passage. This track is a lighter side of Black Sabbath’s Sweetleaf meets Deep Purple’s Child In Time. The drum almost has a double blast beat appeal towards the end.
She’s Crying Diamonds is a subtle track that opens with a very low mellow chord progression of bass drum and snare along with a subtle piano atmosphere carrying the instrumental while the vocal is very clearly telling a story. This track does not have any typical 4/4 going on. There are various time signatures that make up this composition that really qualify it as a progressive track. Almost elements of Camel.
Nothing Can Go Wrong starts out with a very heavy doom rock vibe with a brooding yet deliberate bass/rhythm section. The rhythm section has jazz elements present through the filter of a doom style of metal like Trouble and Black Sabbath. The lead guitar even ventures into a slightly sleaze area much in the vein of Jimmy Paige of Led Zeppelin. The psychedelic chord progressions remind me a lot of what Paul Kantner would write and orchestrate within Jefferson Airplane compositions.
A Wooden Grove reminds me a lot of Black Sabbath with tracks like Black Sabbath and Iron Man yet with slight jazz and psychedelic elements. The bass has some slight elements of what Jaco Pastorios would do solo and with Weather Report. Towards the middle to the end it takes a very uncanny NWOBHM galloping style towards the outro.
Collateral Damage (ft. Colin Tench) is a very bluesy oriented track. Colin Tench adds his own unique flavour to the piece without taking away from Murky Red’s own individual unique and distinctive sound. The fuzzy distorted rhythm based guitar and drum/bass sections are all still in place but with a more straight away classic rock progression.
Bad Wolf Of The Pack begins with a lush heavy psychedelic atmosphere created by the a combination of drums, bass, guitar and keyboards. This starts out very much like a Bad Company or Free track with slight jazz melodic elements. The unsung hero in this track is the underlying percussion section done so well by Marie Vancamp. The percussion almost has a island flavour to it and even a slight reggae element to it.
Wildflower starts off with a very haunting piano passage that give the listener the illusion that the piano is being played in a very open warehouse space. It is very subtle and allows for the listener space to breathe in its presentation. It has a very heavy psychedelic element attached to it. The vocals are warm much like a ballad. This is a love story of sadness yet comforting due to the clean atmospheres and cleaner guitar melodies. This is a potential gateway track that can easily be a single if released as one. The drums also in a strange way add to the warmth of the composition as well. Even the lead guitar solos have such a depth of warmth to them.
Mermaids starts with some serious psychedelic elements both instrumentally and lyrically. The drum/bass rhythm section deeply anchors this track while the warm vocals and guitars add beautiful layers to the song. Depending on how the listener interprets the lyrical content it can be seen as a song of escape or a hallucination
Elena starts out as a church style pipe organ for the intro and remains as one of the anchoring instruments throughout the song. This track has a very heavy Sgt Pepper vibe about it from the start. From their the subtle atmospheres and relaxed piano and acoustics provide for a perfect cool down for the listener to digest the album they just listened to. This track has some heavy classical elements perfect for the acoustics of a intimate setting such as a theater. The drums and percussion serve much like they would as part of a symphony orchestra. The track does pick up quite a bit into a more straight away rock track however with heavy psychedelic and progressive elements lying on top of it.
No Pocus Without Hocus is a much more melodic and orchestral album by nature. It really displays the band’s willingness to venture into more melodic and harmonious territory. It also shows the huge step of maturity towards the writing process. This album has a sense of humour while telling 11 very different stories. Murky Red are certain to find an audience of people who appreciate older more traditional psychedelic, progressive stoner style rock meanwhile attracting a much younger audience with all the modern elements they incorporate into their music. I give Murky Red’s No Pocus Without Hocus a 4.5/5.
Video Courtesy of (Murky Red Official YouTube Channel)
Written By: Robert ‘Uncle Prog’ Brady