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Baby Grandmothers 

Baby Grandmothers (Subliminal Sounds)

The popular history of '60s acid rock focuses almost exclusively on Yanks and Brits. But CD reissues over the past 10 years prove that psychedelia originally laid its Day-Glo eggs throughout the entire planet, spawning everything from krautrock and Brazilian Tropicalia to the Japanese underground and Italian prog.

Featuring such bearded heads as Pärson Sound, International Harvester, and Pugh, Scandinavia sprouted one of Gaia's most fertile hippie movements. But unlike their peers, Sweden's Baby Grandmothers didn't add indigenous folk music to its experimental blues-rock. The trio simply dosed and emulated the screaming feedback and heady groove research heard on Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and Cream's Wheels of Fire.

On Baby Grandmothers, a collection of singles and live material recorded between 1967 and '69, the individual musicianship doesn't match that of the group's idols. But the band possesses an efficiency and third-eye life force that Cream's wankery rarely did. On the disc's apex, the 26 minutes of nonstop shredding on the tracks "Bergakungen" and "Being Is More Than Life (2)," guitarist Kenny Håkansson unleashes a violent obsession with Roger the Engineer-era Jeff Beck. The dude electrocutes gnarled belly-dancing licks with mod fuzz. With the aid of his volume knob, Håkansson also transforms unruly white noise into a throbbing minimalism that owes little to the blues.

If you dig "the '60s," but the legends of Monterey have burned you out, pack your bong and crank the Baby Grandmothers' vintage perfection. It sure as hell beats Wolfmother.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Justin F. Farrar

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