Sunday, 18 February 2018

Album: Dr.Mindflip - Roominations: An Unauthorized Parody

Dr. Mindflip - Roominations

Info: Dr. Mindflip deliver a hefty dose of what Synthesis Magazine called “avant-pop...with teeth”. Their theatrical performances and chameleonic musical stylings have quickly made them a cult favourite around Ireland and beyond – with over 25,000 downloads of their music released on the American netlabel blocSonic.

The playful psychedelia of a live Dr. Mindflip show is a truly unique experience. The doctor and his masked musicians are the Lynchian lounge band of your dreams - undulating between jazzy avant-pop ditties and wild outer-space improvisations. The antics of characters such as the aristocratic Owly, the soulful saxophone-wielding Sage, and the gently unnerving Dollhead ensure that no two Dr. Mindflip gigs are the same.

Opening with a, well, take your pick from Kafka, Dostoevsky or Orwell audio-book cassette from your local library circa 1988 intro, immediately Dr. Mindflip strap you into your straight-jacket before carting you off to their sometimes macabre, sometimes wry and sometimes down-right acid-tripping underworld of new album Roominations: An Unauthorized Parody

'Prologue: Get In' gets down to the Floydian The Wall-era operatic psychedelia immediately, where the fuck are we going? "Don't worry", they whisper, "everything is going to be just fine....". 'Act 1: The Nightmare Begins', appropriate, theatrical vocals are interspersed with a calm jazz percussion, piano and sax, a sense that you are being tricked into letting your guard down. 'Act 1' concludes on a darkened urban streetscape, you've been lifted from the front row of the theatre to a place of vulnerability. 

We all remember Elton John dressing as Mozart with that wig on his Tour De Force tour in the eighties, this image is now inescapable as 'Manchild's Monologue' spurts out its opening piano-laden burst. This feels like I'm in his or Billy Joel's dreams, like an univited voyeur, with both imagining themselves at their most flamboyant on stage while they sleep. What a song title, 'The Misguided Rebellion of a Doormat', and the metaphorical lyrics are wondrous; "My life is running away from me / Faster than the eye perceives / That I’m just a half-assed montage / The years are running away again / I sold them to grey gentlemen / With wrinkles made of cigarette ash". Blues solo at 2:15, getting spoiled now.

'Act II: Massive Pockets' keeps the theatricity of the albums central core to the forefront. It's an intoxicating cocktail of 70's prog-rock and Joel is there again, like a 21st century remaking of 'Anthony's Song (Movin' Out)', it's a wild and fantastic single that you might need a little lie down after, and the break at 2:30 is the perfect leveller amongst the mayhem.

After the grooving of 'Shame Gravy' we come to 'Housebroken', it's a bit of a vocal soul train, accentuated by that funky disco-effect pedal, lyrically it's claustrophobic, a desire to break free from that aforementioned straight-jacket which is now being worn by our protagonist. 'Sunset' opens with the bass of doom, has the show ended? Have the actors all left the stage and left us with a spotlight monologue in the dark? Of course not! We meander through inquisitive contemplations and elevator jazz sequences (compliment), before a full Dr. Mindflip rock blowout, the closing is haunting and insidious.

How can the band fittingly close out an album and voyage like this? 'Epilogue: Beardless in Hollywood' ensures you are reminded, in case you became too distracted by the chaos of the preceding tracks, of what they are all about. There's such powerful feeling in the vocal, strings and piano, almost sad, whilst the album takes your mind everywhere, they can also do the same within each individual song, which is some achievement.

Roominations: An Unauthorized Parody is without a doubt one of the most bizarre and overwhelming albums I've heard in a while, and it's magical, to be able to get the listeners imagination to run even wilder than the artists who composed it takes something special. In addition, a feature-length screenplay could be gleaned from Roominations, they should put in some calls; "Hey Elton, you still got that Mozart wig brah?".

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