Paul Roland has an interesting back history. Besides being the brains behind a quartet of Gothically atmosphered CDs, he once not only interviewed Nico, Moe Tucker, and Sterling Morrison of the sacred Velvet Underground but actually interested them in working with him. That ultimately fell through, but he later was asked to help with a reunion of John's Children, whence Marc Bolan first issued in the 60s, which also never quite materialized (Fate just does not smile on this guy!), though Roland never really regretted it because he had sons to raise. But now all that's well past, one of Paul's progeny even wields the bass guitar on this disc, and Bates Motel CD's been released to show what was planned 'twixt he and the Velvs, the earliest prototypes of which Morrison had seen and enthused over.
The DIY nature of Bates Motel is evident, however, being a mid-fi enterprise and rather flat signal-wise, but it's easy to see why Sterling had been appreciative, as Roland displays elements of David E. Williams, Jack Frost, Bauhaus, urbanized Japan, Stooges, and even a little Flash in the Pan within his style. The Goth factor looms large, The Wailing Well even occupying a progrock slant that wouldn't be surprising to find on a Gary Lucas release. However, much is robbed through the very pedestrian engineering, even on Wailing, and Roland would be well advised to re-mix the entire project, 'cause a lot's going missing or misemphasized throughout.
Of course, Roland has to take some negative credit as well, as cuts like Tortured by the Ghost of Fu Manchu are clumsy and plodding (still excellent base material but need a lot more work, vocals included), the sort of thing one hears in a few too many urban garages across teenaged America. Thus, it's not that Bates Motel is a bad CD but rather a case of premature release, something that was taken out of the oven too early. I can't recall ever hearing of a released album being re-recorded and re-offered, but this one, done right, would deserve it……with a LOT of discretion being well exercised in the meanwhile.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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