First off, one can't help but note at times a number of affinities in Wreckless Eric, Amy Rigby, and A Working Museum over to Mick Taylor & Carla Olsson, especially as announced by the rough and tumble first cut (and elsewhere), but that's quickly replaced as far more psychedelic elements barge in and start making Museum the kind of thing Steve Hillage or Dave Stewart (the Egg guy who worked with Barbara Gaskin, not the Eurhythmics cat) might've produced—but, no, the entire gig's purely Eric and Amy, with some drum tracks by Chris Butler (The Waitresses). They play and sing everything and recorded the disc in the confines of their own studio (in reel to reel analogue no less!), which pretty much accounts for why it came out at all. Had Eric attempted this at Stiff, a sometimes inspired but oft funky-ass label from the git-go, it'd still be languishing.
There are more than a few nods to Sergeant Pepper's and that LP's era running all through Museum as well as tips of the hat to the Kinks (Arthur, etc.) and others, but the progressive nature of the CD may well surprise those more familiar with Eric and Amy's respective solo works (Genovese Bag, though, harkens back well to her foundations, folky and effervescent—and the titular reference, by the way, is to high couture, not to the grisly and shocking Kitty Genovese incident). The disc, however, all fits quite well with the evolution of the alt/punk/Goth epoch and its ongoing spawn, a mode presently hybridizing like mad, resulting in a lot of intriguing work and more than a few indications of things to come.
There's a simultaneous feel of comfortable looseness and broader thought processes in Museum, of passing beyond formulaic strictures while observing aesthetic disciplines of a different sort, a lysergic revel in tones and phases for their own sakes. If this is the pair's direction, then huzzah!, but even if it isn't, thank the gods they're idling in such weirdly Edenic pastures for a while. It brings the 70s through the back door into a period that's formless and gratifyingly so. In fact, Gilli Smyth, David Allen, and some other of the Gongers could take a lesson or two here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles