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Hapshash & The Coloured Coat: Featuring The Human Host/ Western Flier

Album Review

High times for the poster boys of British psychedelia.

Graphic designers Michael English and Nigel Waymouth were go-to guys of the UK’s psychedelic underground, devising posters for Hendrix, Cream, Floyd, and clubs like Middle Earth and UFO. In 1967 they passed into the musical realm with debut Featuring The Human Host, recorded by producer Guy Stevens in one session with members of Art (later Spooky Tooth) and an attendant gaggle of freaks.

This brain-frying overload of avant-garde textures was marked by ruptured guitar riffs, chanting voices, chimes and bells. A Mind Blown Is A Mind Shown feels like an hallucinatory prayer meeting; Empires Of The Sun could be The Holy Modal Rounders getting busy with bongs‘n’gongs. 

By ’69 they’d fallen out, and Waymouth hooked up with Mike Batt and a bunch of sessioneers that included The Groundhogs’ Tony McPhee. Western Flier sounds altogether less cohesive, if more conventional, with various flavours of Zydeco, prog and folk, plus a bizarre snippet of an old Cajun comedian on Telephone Budreaux

Neither album sold in any quantity, but both remain fascinating documents of the times.

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