CD Reviews > Legendary Pink Dots

Legendary Pink Dots - Chemical Playschool 15

Warning, Edward Ka-Spel and the rest of the 'dots' crew would have to really, really muck things up for me to dislike their work. The Chemical Playschool releases, now on #15 and beginning back with #3 & #4, usually are particular stand-outs for one reason or another! Some of the cd's (e.g. the dual release of #8 & #9) remind me of the 'side' project The Teargarden, where I first discovered Edward and the gang's unique voice and presentation of musical concepts.

No exceptions here. By the time of this review, I'm hoping to have at least a partial transcript of the lyrics for “Imaculate Conception”, a song I've taken to so much I used it for a few days as a starting meditation!

Don't be fooled by the fact that there's only 5 tracks, or that they are downloaded from Amazon for only $5.00; this disk packs a punch! So many ways of expressing music with synths, effects, and processes all featured in one place. I find myself recommending, more and more, that these newer LPD works may not be the best for those who are new to their sound; there are just too many layers and grand experimentation. However, for $5.00 for the full download, new fans can experience something different, and you can't beat that with a stick!

Track 01 “Immaculate Conception”. There are times when Edward Ka-Spel (vocalist, keyboardist, prophet & writer of most material) strides to really say something that can become positive, even in the midst of our darker days; but never in any 'pollyanna' sense. His insights are true reflections and projections into a brighter reality, like a motivational speaker, in song, telling his own story… or is it your story? He's slick that way!! "Buy the ticket, take the ride!"

"I live at the center of the universe, my joy is impossibly maintained.
No dark, guilty secrets, no worrying creases, I'm reborn each and every Sunny day!
I Sit at the center of my Universe, Don't care what the other people say.
I stand back un-concerned, these ears never burn, Be assured I'm immaculately sane!
All's well in the center of the universe. I don't feel the need to step outside.
I will look through the window and watch the people go... Byyyyyy!
This is not the center of the universe, this joy is impossibly maintained.
No dark, filthy secrets"

The chorus repeating, as if drifting off into the actual universe…

Track 02 “Sparksfly/Museum”. This one really takes you for a ride with lots of strong synthesizing and effected elements, here to tell a darkish tale. It's amazing how much of my 5.1 surround system they actually implement. I’m happy I have tolerant (and distant) neighbors.

Track 03 “The Opium Den Pts.1-3”. This track pulls back a bit and is more reserved. A harpsichord? Listen to Edward's disembodied voice. This track is great for contrast and for general album flow. I know the harpsichord and dulcimer sounds are keyboards; but why bother me (or any listener) with so-called “reality”? You are deep in the land of the 'dots' now!

04 “Ranting And Raving”. Back to space we go! The mesh (or is it mash?) of spacerock, psycheadelica, and neofolkesque story-telling is only done like this on special occasions; and this is certainly a special occasion!! Wow! We really go far out into space on this one. At times it seems this song might have been written for that lonely robot, Wall-E.

05 “Immaculate Conclusion”. Every now and then LPD creates a tune based on a loop of something sung by Edward with analog synth noises that weave in and out (microwave receiver noises? The tuning of a transistor radio?) As far as I can make out here, the words are "and we all belong too..." ad infinitum. A fitting end!

This concludes my review of the latest Chemical Playschool release by The Legendary Pink Dots, #15 to be exact, but who's counting?

~Alexavier S. Strangerz