Brainchild - Healing Of The Lunatic Owl (1970)
"Among the rare and unknown 70’s group, one of the most obscure must be Brainchild, who recorded a sole album as the decade just unfolded. The intriguingly-titled Healing Of The Lunatic Owl was record in Western London and produced by Lenny Wright and it contains some brilliant progressive brass-rock, developed by the septet, which had three wind instrument players n its line-up. Graced with a striking owl artwork (the back cover with a handbrainpigeon illustration is not too shabby either), the album came out on the A&M label with the catalogue number AMLS 979. Songwriting-wise, the credits are more or less evenly spread between singer/guitarist Edwards, bassist/singer Coles and saxman/flauter Wilshaw.
Starting on Autobiography, a track that rises from a fade-in coming from hell, the group rides a quick wave, before the middle section gives a slower Spanish-style trumpet solo, gradually picking up peed as other wind instrument step in, leading to a wild guitar solo, underlined by brass throes and Wilshaw’s sax leading the wild brassy fade-out outro. The title track starts very slowly on a flute and vocals, before it kicks in and offers an already-heard-before melody on the chorus (most likely strongly derived from BS&T, but not quite as cheesy), but the track is not among their best, anyway. The slow menacing bass line of the 7-mins Hide From Dawn, soon joined by brass and slow sinister drum rolls provide a great climate and constant groove throughout the track, over which Jennings’ organ can stroll upon, accompanying Edwards’ vocals, and when not busy singing, he plays a few remarkable guitar fills, but the show is really for the brass section. A rapid groove shakes you from your torpor and She’s Learning has a real enthralling hot memorable hook, mostly driven by the organ. The tracks suddenly stops halfway to allow for a short bass solo, before resuming the original groove, but slowly morphing into a dissonant mutant form.
The album’s flipside opens on the album’s centrepiece, the 9-mins A Time A Place which has few problems installing itself as the album’s best highlight. The rest of the albums glides on effortlessly with the funny Two Bad Days (and its descending riffs), the slow, enchanting and haunting flute-laden Sadness Of A Moment (another highlight) and the closing To B, also starting slowly, but ending in complete dissonant chaos.
Truly one of those minor unearthed gem, Brainchild’s only albums stands as one of brass rock’s best albums ever, out-ranking many better-known acts. In terms of obscure brass rock, they stand on the podium with Galliard (two albums) and Warm Dust (three albums). Obviously very rare as a vinyl and having never seen a legit reissue, this group is unfortunately bound to remain for a while, one of the least known UK treasures." (Sean Trane progarchives.com)
1. Autobiography (3:35)
2. Healing Of The Lunatic Owl (5:05)
3. Hide From The Dawn (6:50)
4. She's Learning (4:13)
5. A Time A Place (8:55)
6. Two Bad Days (3:55)
7. Sadness Of A Moment (4:08)
8. To "B" (3:52)
Harvey Coles - Bass, Vocals
Bill Edwards - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Dave Muller - Drums
Chris Jennings - Organ, Piano
Brian Wilshaw - Saxophone, Flute
Lloyd Williams - Trumpet
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