Skip Bifferty – Skip Bifferty (Grapefruit Records)

A tremendous amount of British psychedelia was recorded in 1967, as the genre exploded all over both the mainstream charts and the underground scene. With such a large volume there’s some works of genius and plenty of crap too, and for every “A Day In The Life” or “Astronomy Domine” there’s an instantly dated dud like “Your Mother Should Know” or “The Gnome”. Unfortunately, Newcastle group Skip Bifferty fall into that latter category, with a self-titled album that plays like a catalog of all the bad ideas to come out of the era. There’s a dippy excursion into Eastern mysticism (“Guru”), fey fairytale-psych numbers (“Gas Board Under Dog” and “Orange Lace”) and an overall foppish theatricality that rubs me the wrong way. In fact, given its pomposity, suite-like songs and the general lack of restraint, there’s a rather strong argument to be made that this is one of the earliest prog-rock albums. The original fourteen-song album is augmented by five songs from singles and four previously unreleased demos. However, less would have been more.