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The Chemistry Set - Sounds Like Painting (Unreleased LP)
The Chemistry Set – Sounds Like Painting – Unreleased LP
"The Fanzine and Flexi Disc Kings”
was a time before the internet when if you wanted to know what was
going on in the world of Psychedelia you would purchase one of the
hundreds of fanzines around the world. Like Bucketful of Brains,
Freakbeat, The BOB, Rockerilla, Ruta 66 and Sound Affects, to name just
In the late 1980’s The Chemistry Set
appeared in fanzines all around the globe. From the UK to France,
Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Japan, USA, Australia and New
Some of these fanzines used to give away flexi discs
(for younger readers these were 7” floppy plastic records) that used to
last for about 5 plays if you were lucky. For a period from 1988 – 1990
it seemed that every other fanzine were giving away a Chemistry Set
Formed in London in 1987, The Chemistry Set comprised of Ashley Wood (Guitars and vocals), Paul Lake (guitars and vocals), Henry Taprell (bass) and David Mclean (drums and vocals)
came together through a mutual friend and a mutual love of Psychedelia.
Their influences were: Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock, Tomorrow, UK
Psych, the 4 B’s (Beatles, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield & The
Byrds), Love, Moby Grape, The Yardbirds & The Misunderstood
(particularly the use of the volume pedal, check out the quiet part of
"Wake up Sometimes”) and Hendrix.
They spent the first 6 months
of their existence in the laboratory (AKA a rehearsal studio in
Kensington, London) before hitting the road.
An early stage
favourite "Batmutation Overdrive” was the Batman Theme that careered
into Interstellar Overdrive and could last anywhere from 5-15 minutes
depending on the crowd reaction.
Covers that were played at
early gigs were "She Don’t Care About Time”, "Renaissance Fair” &
"Lady Friend” by The Byrds, Dylan’s "Tombstone Blues” and The Buffalo’s
"Mr Soul” (later recorded at the ” Wake up sometime” sessions)
their existence they also covered "See Emily Play” by The Floyd
(recorded and released on Imaginary records Syd Barrett tribute "Beyond
the Wildwood”, "Faintly Blowing” by Kaleidoscope and "A House Is Not A
Motel” by Love (recorded and released on Spanish LP "Wake up Sometime”)
Chemistry Set could be found playing weekly in London @ venues like The
Marquee, The Borderline, The Greyhound, Rough Trade Record Shop &
regularly at Alice in Wonderland. They played with Robyn Hitchcock,
Bevis Frond, The Steppes and even good old Hawkwind.
rehearsal sessions were more like gigs. Every Saturday a trail of about
50 freaks and hippies would make their way to the rehearsal studio,
where they would watch a 4 hour freakout and jam session. Greg Shaw
once paid a visit with The Steppes and a Chem Set/Steppes jam session
In February 1989 The Chemistry Set entered into Raven Farm Recording Studios to record their first LP; Sound Like Painting.
The LP was finished and ready for release in April 1989. Interviewed at
the time by Bucketful of Brains, they had been offered a number of
deals from record companies; Voxx (USA), Music Maniac (Germany),
Resonance (Holland) & Romilar-d (Spain) but were holding out to see
who else would come along.
Tracks: 1. Some People Never Learn 2. The Candleburns 3. The Look Inside 4. Acacia Gardens 5. Sittin’ on Top of the World 6. Orange Juice Sun 7. Living Alone 8. The Dreams That I Saw Yesterday 9. Minas Tirith 10. Under The Valley
band went on to release many singles, an LP for a Spanish label and
numerous compilation appearances but they never again reached the
heights that was "Sounds Like Painting”.
Note that the version
found here is not the finished "mixed” LP. This is an earlier rough mix
(with count-in’s etc) that has more power than the finished version.
"Sounds Like Painting” and most of the above article first appeared on the great "It’s Psych” forum.