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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 4. 22 March 1972

"Galactic Zoo Dossier," with Arthur Brown'

"Galactic Zoo Dossier," with Arthur Brown'.

"Music started as a loon for me, then it got serious and now its a loon again." So said Arther Brown of his association with new group Kingdom Come. Superficially at least, it would seem that Brown has changed from the days of this Crazy World. Gone is god of hell-fire painted faces, flashing teeth, black magic and primitive basicness. Instead we are confronted with a barrage of electronics, bizarre science-fiction and heavy up-dated driving music. The primitive Arthur Brown is replaced by the futuristic surreal one. But beneath it all, the sobbing shrieking voice is unchanged, only transferred to the setting of a new age.

Galactic Zoo Dossier starts with deceptive timidity with a religious message (tongue held firmly in cheek) audible from amid a confused pile up of voices, but then proceeds to range (or perhaps ramble) over a large number of modern musical forms. Heavy orthodox riffs are swallowed in majestic organ, while on some tracks the listener is treated to speeded up tapes, unorthodox organ, electronically-distorted metallic vocals, jazz-inspired solos, gentle acoustic guitaring... you name it.

The tracks are all run together so to provide a continuous stream of music and weird sound effects so that it takes so long (half way through the second side on first hearing) for the record to lose its freshness and charm, Kingdom Come play well, especially Michael Harris on organ, but are not, I think, quite of the standard demanded by such an ambitious project. The key to the album's success (or rather, lack of failure) must lie in Arthur Brown's singing which provides a sustained link throughout the musical meanderings of his group. If everything else has changed about Brown, his voice has managed to retain its wide range, its hysterical tortured scream, its pained sobbing and its immense power. Still his vocal gyrations would do justice to Screaming Jay Hawkins or James Brown. It is a (backhanded) tribute to Arthur Brown that the record tends to be somewhat dull when he is removed from the lead vocal spot.

Cover of Galactic Zoo Dossier record

This record is certainly not everyone's, but, despite occasional lapses in power, it is not at all bad — if you like your music with just a suggestion of the avant-garde and not too mush innovation, that is. The new Brown must pale by comparison to the old, but he is still worth a listen.