Their third and final album was a self titled album that was released early 1998. Bryan Bell (vocals, guitar) Rob Dollars (drums) Damon Newton (vocals, guitar) Darryn Harkness (bass) 2. Ferank Manseed vocals Steev Swayambhunath guitar Count Spacey bass Graham Swaddle drums Chief drums Andy Charlton keyboards Chris Barnett keyboards Now defunct, Dead Flowers were for many years Newcastle's kings of acid rock. Their career began inauspiciously enough with the privately pressed TV single which, to be honest, was not especially good, consisting of two grungey hard rock tracks with little hint of the psychedelic mayhem to come. After four years of local obscurity, they were picked up by Brian Sutton's Mystic Stones label for one of its earlier releases. The resultant album Smell The Fragrance does not capture the band at their best by any means.
It contained plenty of good songs - Absolution, Crackdown and the drug anthem Piece Of Sky - but one had to ask "Where's the psychedelia?". The band sounded at this time like an updated, druggy Black Sabbath or an English Monster Magnet. If the idea sounds tempting, then go for it, but there was better to come. The track Crackdown also appeared on the Underground Newcastle compilation in an exclusive "grunge" mix.
1992's Moontan is something of an acid rock classic. It opens with the storming Chocolate Staircase which uses the riff from Pink Floyd's Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun A powerfully contrasting track follows in the spacey, almost ambient, Spiral Eye before the band turn the amps up to eleven again for Filling In Time. The heavy riffing of Thought World brings side one to a close. Side two begins with another near ambient track Gaia's Love Hole which despite the awful title is an awesomely beautiful piece of music; the word "ambient" should hold no negative connotations here: this is layers of liquid guitar and brushed cymbals with pulsating bass, and delicate flute (provided by Teapot from Cheops).
There follows three tracks more in the heavy, doom-laden style of their first LP. Moontan is strongly recommended. A different version of Chocolate Staircase also appeared on the Delerium compilation Fun With Mushrooms which brought the band to the attention of a wider audience. Moontan had turned Dead Flowers into one of the hottest properties on the psychedelic scene, and Delerium scooped them for their third LP Altered State Circus which was recorded at Dave Anderson's Foel studios.
This contains all the elements which made Moontan so indispensable, but there was a noticeable improvement in the production and musicianship (not that it was bad before by any means). The music was even druggier than previously and the sleeve artwork amongst the most spectacularly psychedelic ever. The music showed the band developing the ambient textures of the previous album in six slow burning, extended tracks. Highlights are The Elephant's Eye Was Eerie (eh?), the title track Altered State Circus and Slouch Factor 9.
The only half way weak track was Free the Weed a rather unfocused protest song. The CD contained an extra track, the excellent thirteen minute Vodafone In Oz. Although not an improvement on Moontan the band had instead tried a slightly different musical direction and the album is recommended. The deeply laid back Warmth Within (Chemical Binoculars) was featured on the Pick 'n' Mix Delerium sampler album.
The band split following the release of Altered State Circus. Steev Swayambhunath branched out into ambient dance music, forming a band called Cubic Space Collective. (Chris Williams) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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