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Terry Brooks & Strange - Raw Power (1976)

Strange – “Raw Power” (Outer Galaxy Records 1976, later reissued by Psycho Records and then Akarma Records)

Terry’s second album, once again released as Strange, builds upon the cosmic psych rock introduced on Translucent World. Fields And Fields Of People is an easy-paced song with guitar licks that are slow and melodic until taking off for the finale. Are You My Friend opens with brief spaced out guitar effects, quickly shifting to whining, strangulation guitar, before settling into a stoned groove. Terry’s vocals trade off with his guitar as if the two were performing a duet. I love the combination of stoner guitar chords and Hendrix-like licks on this song. To The Far Side Of Time is a 3+ minute swirl of deep space guitar effects that’s like some cosmic storm brewing. Near the end we hear Terry’s voice speaking, though it’s backwards, and then BANG, we launch into the title track, which continues the total guitar motif and Terry going completely acid mind-fucked volcanic on the instrument.

After the eruption of the last two tracks, the bouncy rhythmic pace of Love Me is a bit of a shock. It’s an exercise in contrasts as Terry sings this catchy song with its “Who-Na-Na” vocals, yet also cranks out manic solo runs. Having been immersed in all these albums I’ve come to understand that the constant soloing works because of the expressiveness of Terry’s playing. No matter how manic the guitar, Terry is communicating with the listener and that’s because the guitar solo is very much an extension of Terry himself.

The highlight of the album is the 19 minute, sonic guitar assault anthem, Life Jam. The first 5 minutes are like an extended introduction, with Terry playing against a light drum beat backing. Then the band launch into a Hendrix styled jam, the rhythm section creating a slightly unbalanced marching groove which Terry wails along with. There’s a constant sense of tension throughout as the music builds to climactic peaks and holds the listener with a feeling that something is going to explode. Yet the explosion is on-going, like lava gushing steadily out of a volcano. At the core this is heavy acid rock ‘n’ roll, but with a Progressive Rock sense of thematic development and transition and emotional impact on the listener. (source)

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