Dave Wyndorf’s led space patrollers Monster Magnet’s ”The Last Patrol” album is one of my best albums released in 2013, which was a very competitive year for the annual honours list. As the title makes clear this is a re-working of that said album. I had some trepidation that this might be a hotchpotch of alternative outtakes or demo versions. My worries are quickly put to bed and as Dave said in the TINAS interview by Chris Ball that this album was ‘fun to add layers, and different vibes’. A perfect description and illustrates this is a well thought out album with vision and purpose.
This is the sixties tinged Psychedelic Space rock’s trippier brother of the aforementioned 2013 album. There is a re-ordering of the track-list and a couple of new instrumentals, which help to hang it altogether. Where it rocked in heavy psychedelic style the songs now float, drift, swirl and spiral out of the speakers, and the use of the organ and keyboards add a new dimension to the overall sound. This is not designed for the I-pod on random shuffle but crafted for the yesterday era when albums ruled, and provided a fuller rounded listening experience.
There are standout tracks like ‘Mindless Ones 68’ a full on homage to late sixties psychedelia. ‘End of time’ is a sheer delight, still with the same up-tempo pace, but with a wonderful organ rock out solo in the late and great Jon Lord style. In ‘I live behind the clouds (Roughed up and slightly)’ the differences are less distinguishable but still memorable. ‘The Duke (full on drums)’ as the title states starts with the drum rhythm and is a fantastic slow groovy thing with some wonderful un-flashy guitar playing. ‘No Paradise for me’ has a complete change of lyrics and ‘Hallelujah (fuzz and swamp)’s layers of guitars is a hypnotic success.
In between instrumental tracks are used to complement the vibe or provide bridges to the aforementioned songs. The opener ‘Let the circus begin’ is organ/keyboard led until the inclusion of the track ‘The Last Patrol’s’ guitar riff and drum rhythm, while ‘Goliath returns’ is guitar built.
The production is exceptional. Like many albums from the late 1960s and early 70s it has space to breathe between the different instruments so every note can be heard.
There was a worry my love of the original songs and album would make it trickier to absorb or accept the newer versions, but my advice is to free your mind of the details regarding the differences and just go with the flow and enjoy. It requires, and deserves, to be given your whole-hearted attention in the form of sitting down and just listening to it. This is not a replacement of the original but a welcome companion and a very fine addition to Monster Magnet’s body of work.