Thursday, September 19, 2019

Vinyl Review: "Beauty School" by The Crack Pipes

Beauty School
In the gilded days of rock'n'roll, as Jim Morrison was declaring the art form dead, they released an album and a song of the same name.

The Soft Parade was a departure from previous Doors releases, even including some lead vocals from Robbie Krieger.

The change in direction could largely be attributed to Morrison's ever increasing drug habit, his lack of focus on the Doors, and the desire to put his degree to good use.

He was making movies... Movies that no one ever saw, but he made them.

The title track of this record is probably the Alpha and the Omega of prog rock. It features about 27 different genres of music in the course of about 8 minutes. It really is the standout track of the album, shockingly right? It's one of the few Morrison had anything to do with.

A casual listen and it might not be easily discernible that this epic poem was a singular band.

The Crack Pipes
So, back listening to a record in its purest form, vinyl, for the first time is an odd experience, but a welcome one.

Beauty School is one of those heritage releases from the 90's.

In the 60's, an LP was only 25 minutes, in the 70's it was 30 minutes, but in the 80's it was expanded to 45 minutes...but the 90's had the CD.

The CD allowed you to put nearly 80 minutes of music onto an easy to scratch format. So, countless bands in the 90's were putting out what I now term XLPs. Remember Extreme's III Sides To Every Story?

Because of the mixmatched length of the music, the tracking and flipping is a bit odd, and irritating. One side is less than ten minutes long.

But moving back to the first time experience. This wasn't an album that was requested, so the only thing to go on is the cover. The cover looks like any rundown suburb's strip in Anytown, USA.

(I'm assuming the head shop was chopped out of the picture.)

What is this band?

Well, The Crack Pipes chose to create a timeline of music for us. Consider Beauty School in the same vein as you would that of Human Evolution, but instead of starting off with Australopithecus Africanus (Jazz) it starts off somewhere around Homo Habilis (Chicago Blues).

The Doors did this for not quite nine minutes, but The Crack Pipes, either chose to do this or didn't realize they were doing it.

Remember how the Monkees wrote Head? They got high with Jack Nicholson and wrote a whacked out movie.

Who's to say a band named after paraphernalia didn't to the exact same thing, but then forget about it while they were scarfing down their chicken nuggets and 7-11 taquitos?

So, are they a gimmick band, a drug band, or a group of guys that just haven't found themselves yet? (Let me say, weed and hackey sack is probably not the best way to find out why.) But the real problem with this band is that when they change genres, they do a disservice to the one they just left.

There's no track on this record that feels like a put on. That boogie blues track? Excellent. It was disappointing that the rest of the disc didn't sound like that.

Ditto on that psychedelic rock track.

Would they be better or worse as a singular kind of band?

No idea.

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