Chicago-based psych-pop band The Luck of Eden Hall have been knocking around the paisley underground since the late 80s, finding acclaim mostly in the U.K. and Europe. After a string of well-received summertime gigs in Sheffield, Cardigan, Glasgow and London (where they supported The Pretty Things), the group is back on U.S. soil with the excellent new album Victoria Moon.
Victoria Moon opens with “Sassafras Overcoat,” a lysergic trip deep into the wilderness, and the Mellotron-drenched title track. “The Collapse of Suzy Star” adds acoustic guitar and synth to the mix, while “Zap” brings to mind Guided by Voices at their most psychedelic.
The album hits its midpoint stride with “Sitting Bull” and the Anglophile fever dream “Drunk Like Shakespeare on Love.” “Dandy Horse” is a mash note to a bicyclist and the freedom that she represents; “Super Phantasmal Heroine” imagines a party that is both sweet and sinister as “the curtains all were unwound” and “the clock was wearing a frown.”
“Cracked Alice” marries drunken piano to lead singer Greg Curvey’s beyond-clever wordplay, while “Blood on My Feet,” (co-written by Curvey and bassist Mark Lofgren) recalls Pink Floyd at precisely the moment when Gilmour and Waters were finding their legs and Syd Barrett was charging toward oblivion. “She’s Your Anodyne” finds Lofgren taking the vocal lead on a track that owes a debt not only to orchestral pop but also to 70’s AM radio.
Victoria Moon closes with “The Horrible Pill Book,” and everything is wrapped up quite nicely: poetic lyrics, more Mellotron (courtesy of Jim Licka), Carlos Mendoza’s jazzy drumming and a gentle fade-out as The Luck of Eden Hall gaze upon an antique moon that continues to shine.