Text: Daniel Salas
Yes, there once was a band called Art. The rock bands of the 60’s took all of the simple names like Love, Spirit and Fire. There was also plenty of bands with more thought in their name like Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Tangerine Dream or Vanilla Fudge, but not all psychedelic bands wanted to sound like they were the ice cream flavor of the month. Supernatural Fairy Tales is the sole album of the band known as Art.
Art was the name of the British psychedelic rock band that would eventually evolve into the much more famous Spooky Tooth. Why was there a name change? By the time the 70’s came around, a lot of the psychedelic bands of the previous decade were stalled because of the druggy connotations. A lot of bands that were looking for the long running career of making records would drop their name and adorn the new tag “progressive rock” in order to gain a wider audience and a bigger fan base. So now, bands like The Move became Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Small Faces morphed into Humble Pie, The Syn were now Yes and The Gods turned into Uriah Heep. The name switch from “psychedelic” to progressive rock gave bands a chance to basically sell more records and to be taken more seriously. The psychedelic movement in the eye of the consumer was fading but the bands weren’t, and like many artist, they needed to transition in another direction in order to keep up with the music industry. Musically the difference in sound was not that drastic; the guitar solos and stoner jamming were longer and groovier. Why didn’t the 80’s hair metal bands transition? Damn you Nirvana. I wanted to hear more Kix and L.A. Guns!
Supernatural Fairy Tales is a charged up true psychedelic freak-out of an album full of vocal phaser blasting, tribal drum pounding and scorching guitar licks. Art has the heaviness of Blue Cheer or The Yardbirds, rooted deep in the blues, but the band takes it to another level of madness in the same vein as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown or Pink Floyd’s first album Piper at The Gates of Dawn.
The album opener, “I Think I’m Going Weird”, pushes you right into the madness of the album’s rollercoaster ride into the fantasy land of Art. The song gives true meaning to the term freak-out, as the intense vocal of Mike Harrison spooks the listener almost into a bad trip. The haunting organ playing, along with the vicious attack of the wall of noise stacked with phasers and distortion fuzz pedals and freaky vocals, display key elements of true British psych. On the song, “Love Is Real”, Art slow down for a Santana-ish space jam enveloped in constant organ grooves. Supernatural Fairy Tales is an album that contains mostly original material minus two cover songs, The Young Rascals “Come on Up”, and a superb version of Buffalo Springfiend’s “For What Its Worth”. The rest of the album continues on with mind bending charged up mod-ish rock shredding accompanied by jammy percussion and organ flares glistening with subtle hints of the future prog sound.
An original first press copy of this gem has seen online auctions go over $500 and is considered one of the rarest LPs on the Island label. Reissues of the album have seen the light of day and are not as hard to find as the original. Art’s Supernatural Fairytales will take you on a crazy trip into the purple haze of the British psychedelic movement.