The Dragons (3) ‎– BFI

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Tracklist

Cosmosis 3:19
Food For My Soul 4:02
Amplified Emotion 3:42
Sandman 2:58
On The Wall 2:49
Are You There? 4:03
Sunset Scenery 4:17
Mercy Call 4:48
Pop's Bag 3:39
Big Mike Requiem 4:57
Your Way Too (Ruff Mix) 3:02

Versions (4)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
ZENCD 135 The Dragons (3) BFI(CD, Album) Ninja Tune ZENCD 135 UK 2007 Sell This Version
ZENCD135P The Dragons (3) BFI(CD, Album, Promo, Car) Ninja Tune ZENCD135P UK 2007 Sell This Version
ZEN135 The Dragons (3) BFI(LP, Album) Ninja Tune ZEN135 UK 2007 Sell This Version
ZEN135 The Dragons (3) BFI(LP, Album, W/Lbl) Ninja Tune ZEN135 UK 2007 Sell This Version

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Bradx

Bradx

July 11, 2018
referencing BFI, CD, Album, Promo, Car, ZENCD135P

If you can't afford the vinyl just get this promo version - copies from 75p as I type. Unbelievable value. If you just want to listen to the thing AND have hard copy you won't do better. Sometimes I think there's little point in shelling out big buckeroos for a vinyl album when you can get the same music for 75p.

I actually really like this type of card sleeve promo. They look great, very attractive with full artwork... and they are properly factory-pressed silver CDs - not CDrs. I've got thousands of them and I can get 125 in a small filing box.

Aaaaanway - great lost album of sublime west coast psychedelic pop.

75p - - - - I can't believe it.
DJ_Phoney

DJ_Phoney

December 5, 2009
referencing BFI, LP, Album, ZEN135

Ninja Tune released this stunning album in 2007 although it was recorded in 1969/70 (and never actually released back then). That raises the question how is it possible that again and again music as great as this gets lost for decades?
If this would be some totally average recording, so that everybody would ask if it was necessary to release this at all; alright. But that just isn’t the case. It’s fantastic.
The band had been sending their recorded album to labels in 1970 but only received reactions like: “Great production but I don’t hear a hit”. Oh my gosh - the music industry really made a lot of mistakes!
Whoever wrote that line was right about the production though – it still sounds great. State of the art for the late 60s, early 70s. Not too clean but definitely also not the garage type of thing with just the right natural reverbs and atmosphere on all the tracks.

It is in fact a strength of this record that it’s not that easy to categorize.
I would describe the band’s sound as something between Steely Dan, J.J. Cale, the Beach Boys (an original member of the Dragons mentiones in the liner notes that they were in fact really spending time with the Beach Boys backing band), Mamas & Papas, Donovan and the Doors (all caught in their most stylish and grooviest moments) plus some soundtrack/library-oriented jazz a bit in the vein of Alan Hawkshaw or Brian Bennett.

There is psychedelic in there but the musicians don’t get carried away with that. It’s a very controlled way of playing though it’s not the kind that makes you sleep in. Imagine the sort of groove that the Doors had going on “Riders On The Storm” – that’s a vibe you find spread all over this record.

There’s some purely instrumental tunes, vocal songs and some tracks with just very unobtrusive vocal-work. Where there is singing the guys did the right thing; they weren’t the greatest vocalists of all time and seemed to know that. So the vocals are set into the arrangements in a modest way that works well.
The opening track “Cosmosis” is kind of a spacy Psychrock with a somehow funky pre-fusion groove. “Amplified Emotion” is a cool psychedelic pop tune.
The mysterious organ-riff to “On The Wall” makes me think of the aforementioned library musicians (also an interesting example for the mentioned unobtrusive female/male vocals on this one).
“Your Way Too” sounds a lot like Steely Dan.
My personal fave is “Pop’s Bag”, a tune that combines melancholy 60s Pop, Psych, Folk and a compact rockjazzy groove. A hit, if you ask me, eventhough not the common type with an all over repeated chorus – the verse is the catchiest part of the song, the rest is instrumental.

The cover-design (although done with a computer, still very authentically) makes this a keeper as well. Beautiful and stylish just as the music on the record. Nice printed inner with lyrics and linernotes.

Thanks to Strictly Kev of DJ Food and Ninja Tune for releasing this gem (and Hal Jepsen who used one of the Dragons’ songs for the soundtrack of a surf-movie, so that Kev was able to discover the band).

It’s not for nothing that this record has an average vote over 4.00 here on discogs.
Totally recommended.