The Ullulat△rs* ‎– Flaming Khaos

Label:
Demi Monde ‎– DMLP1021
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Album
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Credits

  • Bass, VocalsKay*
  • Drums, Performer [Madness]John*
  • GuitarGavin*
  • PercussionAndy*
  • Synthesizer, SamplerJoie*
  • Vocals, PercussionChambers (2)
  • Vocals, ShenaiJane*

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BESTBASS42

BESTBASS42

February 6, 2017

The Ullulators will be forever linked to the Ozric Tentacles and indeed the liner notes to the CD version of this album Ozric Tentacles are mentioned a lot more than The Ullulators are. As everyone will probably know, The Ullulators founding member & guitarist Gavin Griffiths was also a founding member along with Ed Wynn of the Ozric Tentacles.

Both bands earned their spurs playing live around the South of England at the many free festivals held during the 1980s, including the legendary Stonehenge Free Festival. Through the years since Gavin left the Ozrics to form The Ullulators many musicians have passed through & played in both bands at various times with the sound of both bands taking a very similar ‘Psychedelic-Space Rock’ path fused with elements of Dub, Reggae, Electronica & Ambient Chill-Out. But while the Ozrics went from strength to strength releasing a whole host of brilliant albums throughout the 80s/90s & 2000s, The Ullulators-like so many of the original festival bands around at the time ( Nukli PSI, Magic Mushroom Band, The Oroonies, Ednas Horror Toilet, etc) faded in obscurity, rarely seen or heard of since. Like the Ozric Tentacles The Ullulators released their early music via cassette tapes, hand made & crudely recorded then sold at the various festivals the bands were appearing at. These tapes contain lots of glorious recordings & jams but are spoilt by poor production, bad tape hiss & sound drops. Also there was the odd ‘filler’ track, spoken gobbledegook & very irritating TV/Radio snippets/samples between tracks (Nukli were terrible for that!)

For this album ‘Flaming Khaos’ The Ullulators went for a really polished sound & a pin sharp more professional production & if it had gotten picked up by a mainstream radio DJ could easily of attracted a far bigger audience than it did do.​ Sadly the kind of people who frequented those festivals in the 80s wernt the kind to rush out on mass & buy the album so unless a wider audience was reached (like the Ozrics achieved) there was very little chance of big success for these kind of bands. Every track on this album is a real stormer, you will be singing along with the songs, tapping your foot & nodding your head & the melodies will stay in your head for days!!! A Bit of a sideways step from the more aggressive supersonic-riffs of the Ozrics, although still in the ‘Steve Hillage’ solo camp, only on the very last track ‘Do Ya Wanna’ does Simon really let rip on his guitar ‘Ozric Style’ over Janies beautiful dreamy vocals. Before that are a series of very catchy-melodic songs with some killer guitar riffs and hooks. Several tracks get a re-working from the bands early tapes and from the first piano chords of ‘Don't Thump The Hamster’ you know this is going to be something special! ‘Special Brew’ especially sounds superb, the vocals in the second half so crisp and at the front (unlike on the tapes where you could hardly hear them). Jane Bradfield does a fantastic job on the album, her vocals are a cross between Liz Frazier (Cocteau Twins) and Martha Johnson (Martha And The Muffins). They sound so good in-between Simons menacing guitar riffs & Kay Springers bass-lines. ‘Mr Buddha Geks’ could easily of been a breakthrough single, a very uplifting song with some great hooks & riffs and Janies vocals powering through the song. It kind of backs itself into a corner near the end and spoils the flow of the song (very irritating when dancing at a gig!) before its finds its feet again and launches into its finale. ‘Feel It’ goes into Dub mode with Kay taking lead vocals ably backed up by Janie before the end track the aforementioned ‘Do Ya Wanna’ brilliantly closes the album with Simons menacing solo hanging over the beautiful vocals like a stoned Grim Reaper.

The album flows effortlessly from start to finish, the musicianship is of the highest quality, the songs very-very catchy as stated before the production is top notch! Ad to that Janes fantastic vocals and this is a true undiscovered classic. But its not all good news. At 42 minutes long it seems short and so do some of the songs. I’m sure if they had aimed at a CD release rather than vinyl the songs would of been extended and maybe a couple of extra tracks added (but lets not forget CDs were still new in 1989 were selling at £16.99 in HMV, the equivalent of £22 in todays money!) The Ozrics also released their first none tape only album just before Flaming Khaos called ‘Pungent Effulgent’ and that was a good 20+ minutes longer than this one. But that's just a very minor gripe and perhaps i’m being a bit greedy! New fans will love this a lot more than if they listened to the early tapes first which at times can be painful listening due to the bad sound quality. The Ullulators returned in 2016 with a brand spanking new studio album called ‘Dark Nights In Pardise’ and as I write this its been 5 years since it was announced that the old Ullulators tapes were being cleaned up & re-mastered ready for a special CD release!!! Hopefully they will see the light of day in 2017 to coincide with the newly announced Ullulators tour for later in the year (check out their facebook page). Until then bask in the glory of this fantastic Psychedelic-Space Rock experience, a truly brilliant album…