Fantasy obsessed and deep into the neo-prog scene of the early '90s, few bands were as self-consciously weird and engaging as Ship Of Fools
. Formed in 1992, the band consisted of guitarist Andy Banks, the creatively nicknamed bassist Sputnik, keyboardists Damien Clarke and Les Smith, and drummer Mick Reed. Friendly with the heads of the Dreamtime
label, an offshoot of heavy metal distributors Peaceville Records
, the band eventually signed with them and became the premiere psychedelic eccentrics on the label. Offering two albums in their lifetime, 1993's Close Your Eyes, Forget the World and 1994's Out There Somewhere, the band was a highly experimental force of mind-altering music until they broke up in a haze of bad feelings and musical differences in 1996. Leaving behind a short but excellent catalog of material, Smith (who had gone on to join the decidedly un-psychedelic black metal phenomenon Cradle of Filth) compiled their music and in 2002 released Let's Get This Mother Outta Here, a farewell collection that summed up their career and paid a lasting tribute to their bizarre vision.