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WALKINGSEEDS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Skullfuck (UK Probe) 1987
Sensory Deprivation Chamber Quartet EP (UK Glass) 1989
Shaved Beatnik EP (UK Glass) 1989
Upwind of Disaster, Downwind of Atonement (Communion) 1989
Bad Orb ... Whirling Ball (Shimmy-Disc) 1990

Led by singer Frank Martin and guitarist Robert Parker, Liverpool's Walkingseeds bring mischievous intelligence and a taste for the underside of '60s pop culture to their wanton psychedelic guitar throttles. The first album offers a noisy listen-in to the band's learning process; Upwind of Disaster, while still enthusiastically sloppy and prone to bum notes, proffers conceptually witty songs ("Imperious, Vain, Selfish and Wilful" [sic], "Louie, Louie, Louie," "28IF," named for a license plate pictured on the Abbey Road cover — now is that groovy or what?) that make strange sense and production by Kramer that keeps the roar boiling (boar roiling?). If the band's sound falls somewhere between Motörhead and the Quicksilver Messenger Service, that's seems just about where it seems headed. (The CD adds two, including a cover of the Blue Öyster Cult's "Transmaniacon MC.")

While the title track of the four-song Shaved Beatnik 12-inch embraces Seedsy American retro-psychepunk to good effect, the quartet's endless version of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," "New! Improved! Blue Cheer" and "Dirty Water (From a Dirty Pond)" all come rocking out of a grungier garage. Skip this one.

With production and playing by the Bevis Frond, the Walkingseeds again run haphazardly hot and cold on Sensory Deprivation Chamber Quartet (aka the Dwarf LP), an intermittently entertaining ("People of the World Rise Up and Die," a tuneful slice of political nonsense, is the best track) mini-album that contrasts acoustic guitars with tube-blowing overdrive, crude pop with brain-burrowing crunch.

Bad Orb..Whirling Ball ties up all the stylistic loose ends, hitting a noisy but clear nostalgic acid-rock stride with strong material like "Gates of Freedom," "Broken Cup," "Caged Beatnik" and the Beatles' "She Said She Said," which easily endures the rough handling. Kramer's incisive production here keeps the level of Parker's guitar distortion inside functional limits; Martin's singing is likewise less ragged — and thus more enjoyable — than usual. Except for the needless repetition encouraged by excessive song lengths, Bad Orb is a really good disc.

[Ira Robbins]