Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane – Faster Than the Speed of Light
Speaking of Time Actor, ex-Crazy World sparring partner and Atomic Rooster founder, Vincent Crane, also made an appearance on that album, which neatly segues into this, the second Arthur Brown album of today, Faster Than the Speed of Light.
Recorded in Germany at around the same time as the aforementioned album – but released in 1980 – Faster Than the Speed of Light is a very different beast to the Time Actor. In fact, it’s far superior.
Brown returns intermittently to his cracked mind persona, throwing in the odd operatic burst of cheerful insanity, which finds a substantial purchase on ‘Come and Join the Fun’, a dose of ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away’ style madness that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Kingdom Come.
The first five tracks make up a musical suite rich in orchestration (provided by the Frankfurt Symphony Orchestra), Moogs, Hammonds and whatever else Vincent Crane holds in his arsenal. It’s serious, without being laughably pretentious, while retaining a humour that doesn’t rely on the puerile.
Pretty much a summation of the whole of Faster Than the Speed of Light. It manages to walk the tightrope – incidentally, the title of track 10 – between sobriety and humour, without the need for half-cobbled sincerity or childish stunts.
There is so much that is great about Faster Than the Speed of Light that it seems pointless me trying to pin any individual detail down. From ‘Storm Clouds’, right through to the title track that closes the album, it’s all good. Crane’s keyboard textures are magnificent and Brown does what he does best, without feeling the need to scream down one’s shell-like.
In conclusion, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that this is easily Arthur Brown’s finest since the original Crazy World album. Hell’s teeth! I’ll even take it a step further and say that it pips that album to the winner’s post. Has the world decreed itself mad? An album released in 1980, bestowed such an honour? Maybe I need a lie down.
Get it in your sweaty palm, today!
Faster Than the Speed of Light by Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane is reissued Monday 25th July 2011 by Esoteric and available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk
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