The Fast Camels – The Magic Optician

Not too unlike it was the case with Neon Tetra’s last year release of The Ronelles’ debut album (reviewed elsewhere on these pages), here’s an (very) early contender for one of the best albums in 2007, according to the “magic spectacle” of POPISM.

In spite of them mostly being found splashing around in the chocolate soup, rubb(l)ing themselves against classic Britsike artists such as the Syd-fronted ‘Floyd, Tomorrow, Blossom Toes, Kaleidoscope and the like, and in spite of the quote from the press release saying that “collector-types will probably delight in spotting the influences” (which happens to be pretty much true by the way!).

The Fast Camels still don’t seem to sound dated nor too derivative, somehow managing to put all of the above into the moderndaze context. Released as a taster late last year, with a title like this, Like A Magic Optician, simply couldn’t be nothing but a genre defining Britsike item, the almost obligatory Syd-like quirkiness of The Hump is also spiced with a kind of surf-ish spookiness,

Can You See Me? throws some Byrdsy harmonizing across the “pretty” SF Sorrow-inspired backing track, and The 2 Day Week seems to borrow some of the early Soft Machine’s repetitive coda from We Did It Again, being just as short (1:17) as is a 2 day week, compared to the regular one.

Comforting Things provides an unavoidable Beatles-reference, as put through the “magic optics” of some of their weirder contemporaries, and while we’re at it, Big Daddy Smyth might’ve been an Oasis tune, had they been listening to more late’60s Britsike.

Besides all the Britishism, they seem to be well aware of where it was at on the other side of Atlantic as well, as heard in the opening 50 Things On Your Mind, which is kinda like a more garagey take on White Rabbit, The Nobgoblin offers a kind of a distant recall of the “Journey to the center of the mind”-groove, in a less rude and more British way.

While Privately Insane finds itself somewhere between the two continents, being the ‘Camels rare (almost) classic pop moment, by way of a jazzy-flavoured Love-ly Council. To round things up in the most appropriate way, the closer Der Nazi Tea, is a kind of a psychedelic omnibus, taking things back ‘ome again.

Now put on your kaleidoscopic eyeglasses, and see what the optician tells you to! … You’ll see nothing but magic!

[Released by Neon Tetra 2007]

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