(Round The Edges)
Cream, Gentle Giant, Blue Cheer
Dubbed by many psych experts as one of the biggest 'hidden gems' in the psychedelic rock world, please welcome Dark from Northampton, UK. Round the Edges six song mystique lies in its very limited and private release of only sixty album copies in 1972. The original copies are generating some significant value on platforms such as E-Bay. The album was re-released by Machu Picchu records in 2013 with a deluxe booklet version.
The instrumental jam moments throughout the album are elaborate and quite ahead of its time. The rawness and vulnerable guitar-fuzz are very appealing and really make the album. In addition, the band infuses some very intriguing lyrics that go beyond many of the early 70's psychedelic rock influences. They tackle very interesting subjects and are not afraid to weave in somewhat unconventional story-telling. Unfortunately, Steve Giles' amateurish vocals do become a distraction at times. Particularly on the track "The Cat," where he sounds like an over-enthusiastic DJ or game show host. There are quite a few moments throughout the album where we found ourselves cringing a bit at the awkward and sonically disturbing tones in his voice. Yet, we persist as the terrific song structure and above par guitar-work shine.
The first cut "Darkside" is solid, you have to wonder whether or not they influenced Pink Floyd's' Dark Side of the Moon released less than a year later. The influence being in the lyrics and not the sound. The 'dark side of the moon' theme is mentioned regularly throughout. "Maypole" is very good with one of the strongest guitar-solos at the 2 minute mark. The lyrics are a bit bizarre referring to Michael Caine's body and appearance. The next two tracks "Live For Today" and "R.C 8" are probably the best tracks on the album. "Live For Today" stands out for its deep rooted technique and melodies. Sensational guitar-jams throughout. "R.C.8" is the most uplifting track on the album featuring some up-tempo beats blending very well with unique guitar tones. As mentioned "The Cat" is the big downer on the album being arguably the most commercial track and most annoying vocally. The last cut "Zero Time" exceeds our expectations through its great percussion and bold technique. You will find your ears fixated on the very original rhythm and style. Overall, we have rated each track as follows:
Darkside - 7.0
Maypole - 7.5
Live For Today - 9.0
R.C.8 - 9.0
The Cat - 5.5
Zero Time - 7.5
Average = 7.5
Psychedelic rock fans should pick this album up for their music collection. Dark was ahead of the curve for bands in this genre and deserve some attention. Very talented crew that was unfortunately short-lived. We are confident you will enjoy the fuzzed out jams and their ability to show even heavier moments to other bands of the early 70's. - 6/8/2014
Standout Tracks: Live For Today, R.C 8