Spirits Burning & Michael Moorcock -
The End of All Songs Pt 1

(CD 2023,74:31, Purple Pyramid Records)

The tracks:
  1- The End Of All Songs(4:25)
  2- Try And Try Again(5:27)
  3- Child Of The Moon(3:38)
  4- Paleozoic Eons(3:56)
  5- Guild Of Temporal Adventurers(6:32)
  6- You Have Learned (To Love The End Of Time)(1:25)
  7- All Is Well(4:10)
  8- Paradise Wings In Flight(2:45)
  9- Your Message Of Doom(4:07)
10- It Is Everything(5:50)
11- Building A Bad Scene(5:15)
12- Sanctuary(5:00)
13- Chances Our(3:35)
14- The Price We Pay(4:02)
15- Second Thoughts(3:08)
16- Don't Concern Yourself With The End Of The World(5:36)
17- Each Vehicle Has Two Eyes(5:38)

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Spirits Burning is a US based space rock collective led by Don Falcone, who has close links with bands such as Hawkwind and Blue Öyster Cult. In fact, it is BOC's Albert Bouchard who plays a major role in this album which is a collaboration with legendary fantasy write/art rock icon Michael Moorcock.

Falcone has assembled an all-star cast for this album that follows 2020's The Hollow Lands. Among the dramatis personae are Buck Dharma (BOC), Alan Davey and Bridget Wishart (Hawkwind), Paul Rudolph (Pink Fairies), Chas Cronk (The Strawbs), Erin Bennett (EBB), members of The Damned, Camper Van Beethoven and Tangerine Dream.
The result is a diverse collection of contrasting cosmic chapters, taking the listener on a musical journey depicting Moorcock's lyrics and storyline.

It is the poem Dregs by tragic Victorian poet Ernest Dowson, which provides the title and the lyrical content of opener The End of Every Song which very much sets the tone for the album, its cosmic sounds, a shuffling rhythm, towering chorus and lead vocals from Dharma its main points of interest.
Try And Try Again features ringing guitar while Child Of The Moon has a more downbeat edge, a violin dominant in the song, together with a sweet female chorus before Bouchard's raspier vocals come in to continue the tale. Zingier and more upbeat, a big bassline and pinging synths bring some interesting sonics to Paleozoic Eons.
Guild of Temporal Adventurers is a more mainstream rocking song that features slightly off kilter vocals, a big guitar sound and a sonorous violin.
Have You Learned (To Love The End of Time) on which Falcone takes over lead vocals is a shorter, punchier, more dynamic song while Wishart's voice, both sung and spoken, on All Is Well, together with Jonathan Segel's violins give it slightly quirky vibe.
Paradise Wings In Flight has a spoken introduction from Moorcock that morphs into an ethereally charged soundscape with violin and synths. Your Message of Doom features Bennett on lead vocals. It elevates into a spoken soundscape, its mid-section keyboards section almost sounding like reggae.
Fabienne Shine provides the lead vocals on It Is Everything, her voice working well with its folky feel. Building A Bad Scene is a pacier, punkier song with a big beat which chugs along, building traction and drama as it goes along.
Sanctuary gallops along with a hypnotic, spacey sound and chanting in the mix.
Chances Are pares back on the headiness, David Newhouse's saxes coming to the fore together with Bouchard's distinctive voice.
Piano-led The Price We Pay is slower and more reflective, then the violin returns on Second Thoughts, together with a lively chorus.
Don't Concern Yourself With The End Of The World embraces a slightly weirder vibe. Its bubbling effects open up into a fuller, deeper sound that includes mellow synth, a chugging guitar and harmonica.
Rounding off, Each Vehicle Has Two Eyes returns to the more lyrically based song cycle and is loaded with aural effects giving it some texture.

With fabulous artwork by Rodney Matthews, it's an interesting collection of sci-fi songs that vary in conceptual quality but is worth a listen for the all-star cast.

*** Alison Reijman

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