The album opens with “Animal Solution To An Animal Problem,” which has a good garage rock sound, and moves at a fast pace. “It’s mechanical/And it’s digital/It’s completely natural/It’s an utterly human things to do.” It’s a short song, less than two minutes. Several of the tracks on this album are of a punk rock length. Here Anthony Lacques sings, “A machine is part of nature/And nature’s turning you into a machine,” lines he will return to a few tracks later. Marc Doten plays keyboards on this one. That’s followed by “Foot Stompin’ Time,” a cool and at times kind of goofy instrumental track that goes through different sections, with strong grooves and a loose feel. Perhaps the most surprising section is toward the end, when it feels like it is becoming more contemplative in nature. Once it lands there, it sticks with that feeling, and then fades out. “It’s a nervous system” is a line I love from “A Sublime Bolt Of Lightning (In The Forest Of The Mind),” the humor of it and the honesty of it. And weren’t we all nervous back in 2020 (and 2018 and 2019, for that matter)? “Laughing on the beach/Just out of reach.” There are some psychedelic elements here too, and some laughter and banter at the end, as he says, “They’re coming for us” (a different tone, but a thought similar to “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa”).
On “Nature’s Turning You Into A Machine,” we revisit some thoughts and elements from the first track, including a breathy vocal bit at the beginning, but with a different vibe and pace. “And it’s natural, it feels natural.” Ah, but he sounds uncertain, wary. This is a seriously cool song, one of my favorites. “Yes, a machine is just part of nature/And nature is turning you into a machine/That’s why you feel so mean.” Right. After all, what is unnatural (other than a Republican with a conscience, I mean)? Interestingly, the new album from Stoney Spring, A Team Of Oxen Approaching Light Speed, which came out just a few weeks ago, opens with a song titled “Rejecting The Machine.” And speaking of nature, Anthony Lacques follows that with a song titled “Even A Monkey Could Live How You Live,” which has a great raw sound. “Click it, click it, click it one more time/Follow the signs, open the door/Here is where your food is stored/Even a monkey could live how you live, do what you do, be what you be.” We’ve all be trained well, haven’t we? That’s followed by “Spring Shower,” one of the album’s oddest tracks. It’s sort of an instrumental; that is, there are no actual lyrics, but plenty of vocal work. The rhythm is provided vocally, at least in part.
“My Mind Is Flowering Now,” the album’s title track, has a cool groove. This instrumental track features some really good work on drums. And on this one, Paul Lacques plays guitar, and Marc Doten is on bass. The guys deliver a delicious jam with some psychedelic influences and some nice work on keys. Marc Doten also plays bass on “Pleasant Is The Way.” At the beginning, the vocal work is done in a breathy, heavy whisper, an element also used on a couple of earlier tracks. The first line after that section is “That was fun,” which could be a comment on that first part. Then “A Full Throated Defense Of Stoney Spring” begins with the sound of water. It’s another instrumental track, this one with a certain beauty. And its title nearly puts the group in that category of bands having a song sharing the band’s name (I See Hawks In L.A. is on that list). There is something playful about that title. Paul Lacques plays guitar on this track.
An ominous-sounding single pound begins “Bland And Tough.” The first lines are “Don’t let ‘em see you think/Don’t let ‘em hear you weep/That’s a dangerous flavor/That’s evidence of anger.” This is another strong track, building wonderfully, and with something to say. “If you want to make it in this world/You’ve got to be bland and tough/Just feign some compassion.” Another line that stands out is “You may have one or two regrets when you get older,” partly because I’m getting older (aren’t we all?), but also because I’ve been wondering if some of the people currently running mad against democracy will at some point voice regrets. This is another of the disc’s highlights. Then “Now You Think TV Is Really Good” has a strange opening, feeling like it could be the soundtrack to a late-night television program, one of those eerie shows mixing science fiction, horror and mystery. It’s mainly that theme on keyboard which creates that vibe. In the second half, as this instrumental track progresses, it becomes more hip. It then turns back to that main theme before the end. Jimi Hawes plays upright bass on this one. Stoney Spring goes back to a sort of garage rock vibe on “Who’s In Charge Today?” The song asks the question, but rather than getting political, as one might expect, it stays in the musical realm, asking “Who’s The Beatles today?” And then: “Who’s Max Roach today/Who’s Merle Haggard today/Who’s Peter Tosh today?/Who’s Joni Mitchell today?” Then concludes, “No one’s in charge today.” Though I would argue that Joni Mitchell is still Joni Mitchell today. The others mentioned there are all gone. At the end, he playfully adds Jimmy Carter to the group of musicians (well, a group of people named Jimmy, or Jimi).
CD Track List
- Animal Solution To An Animal Problem
- Foot Stompin’ Time
- A Sublime Bolt Of Lightning (In The Forest Of The Mind)
- Nature’s Turning You Into A Machine
- Even A Monkey Could Live How You Ive
- Spring Shower
- My Mind Is Flowering Now
- Pleasant Is The Way
- A Full Throated Defense Of Stoney Spring
- Bland And Tough
- Now You Think TV Is Really Good
- Who’s In Charge Today
My Mind Is Flowering Now was released on July 6, 2020.